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Settee

Category

Furniture

Date

Unknown

Materials

Damask, Giltwood

Measurements

860 x 3700 x 820 mm

Order this image

Collection

Basildon Park, Berkshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Basildon Park, West Berkshire, London and South East, National Trust

NT 266682

Caption

This style of sofa allows for confidential, intimate conversations between close friends. The confidante sofa was created in eighteenth-century France and soon adopted by English furniture makers. This one is in the style of Thomas Chippendale and is similar to a suite of furniture in the Royal Collection at Clarence House.

Summary

A long settee, or 'confidante', English in the French taste. Carved and gilded frame with pyramids of flowers and central ribbon and husk swag on shaped top rail, and husks and rosettes on apron. Scrolling arm terminals on curved supports. Tapering fluted legs with stiff leaf bands. Upholstered in floral and castle patterned yellow damask. Closely related to documented pieces by Thomas Chippendale at Brocket Park and Windsor Castle. Research by Tankerdale 2004: On closer inspection in the workshop, the settee was recognised to have many similarities to other suites of seat furniture made by the workshop of Thomas Chippendale. The settee appeared to have very close similarities to the suite that is now at Clarence House. A visit to Clarence House was arranged with Jonathan Marsden, Assistant Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art and previous Curator with the National Trust Thames and Chilterns Region, who kindly accompanied John Hartley to inspect the suite there. It is apparent that the settee from Basildon has virtually identical construction details, dimensions of sections, and ornamentation as the suite in the Royal collection, and from these observations it could be assumed that all were made in the same workshop and this is likely to be that of Thomas Chippendale. They were probably made at the same time and may have been supplied as a complete suite and separated later. It is also possible that the large settee, now at Basildon, was sold separately from the workshop. The suite at Clarence House is marked with the brand of George IV, but the Basildon settee carries no marks. The two smaller settees at Clarence House have castors; the chairs have no castors. By checking the dimensions of the remaining part of the legs on the Basildon settee it could be calculated that it probably did not have castors originally. This is not surprising given its overall size.