People looking for pre-Victorian dining chairs in Lancashire prize John Linnell highly. His antique dining chairs , tables, mirrors and antique marquetry furniture epitomised fine18th century furniture design. Recently, a Linnell salon suite, comprising three pairs of chairs and one settee, was sold at Christie’s, New York, for an estimated $400,000. One pair of chairs sold for a confirmed $182,500 (£114,779) – almost double the estimate.
The sale was the last of Christie’s monthly “500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe” events for 2010. The sales have been a phenomenal success, grossing over $30 million in sales in 2010 – an increase of 50% over last year. Naturally, they saved the best for last. The Linnell salon chairs have an exceptional provenance, having been used by the world’s most wealthy and influential people, including Margaret Thatcher.
This was the third time Christie’s have auctioned the chairs, which were part of John Linnell’s historic Stansted Park suite of giltwood seating, commissioned by the 2nd Earl of Halifax for his stately home at Stansted Park in Sussex. The house burned down in 1900, though Linnell’s furniture can be seen in a similar setting at Osterley Park. The Stansted suite, however, was removed to America, being acquired by a succession of rich financiers. Part of it eventually returned to England, ending up at 10 Downing Street, where one of the chairs was used in Margaret Thatcher’s famous Carlton Club portrait.
Of relevance to Lancashire were two Victorian dining chairs at the sale. By Gillows, they realised $4,375. Antique dealers in Lancashire will no doubt know that Victorian dining chairs, dining tables and other furniture by Gillows will be going under the hammer at Christie’s of London, on December 16th.
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