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'The Chicheley Hall Chairs'

attributed to George Nix (fl.1716-1751)

Category

Furniture

Date

circa 1720 - 1730

Materials

Mahogany, holly

Place of origin

England

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Collection

Montacute House, Somerset (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Montacute House, Somerset, South West, National Trust

NT 2900077

Summary

A set of eighteen mahogany and marquetry hall chairs, attributed to George Nix (1664-1756) London, circa 1720-30. Each having a waisted back with slightly concave top edge, the seat waisted and dished. Raised on solid and hipped supports with an arched cutaway; the front board with dished centre, the rear board raked, united by a curving stretcher. The back inlaid in marquetry, including holly, with the crest of the Chester family of Chicheley Hall; a ram's head couped argent, armed or above a torse.

Full description

Closely related to a set of eighteen oak chairs at Ham House [NT 1139637.1 - .18] for which bills survive showing that they were made by George Nix (1674 - 1756), a London cabinet maker. The set of eighteen chairs at Ham House cost £18. A very similar set of mahogany chairs also with a marquetry, rather than a painted, crest, are at Ashdowne House [NT 493008.1 - .8]. The arms inlaid to this set date the chairs between 1721 and 1748. Similar hall chairs - many painted with family crests - are at Felbrigg [NT 1398476.1], The Vyne [NT 718846.1 - .4] and at Dunster Castle [NT 725689.1 - .4]. This set of chairs at Montacute was originally made for the Chester family of Chicheley Hall and were probably commissioned either by the 4th Baronet, Sir John Chester (1666 - 1724) who rebuilt the hall between 1719 and 1723 or by Sir John Chester, 6th Baronet (d. 1748) (the 5th Baronet died just 32 days after his father). (Megan Wheeler, February 2017)

Provenance

Commissioned by the Chester family of Chicheley Hall, Buckinghamshire; thence by descent to Major John Greville Bagot Chester, MC (1925 - 2011); accepted in lieu of inheritance tax and allocated to the National Trust for display at Montacute, 2012.

Makers and roles

attributed to George Nix (fl.1716-1751), cabinet maker

References

Dictionary of British and Irish furniture makers online (1660-1840) FHS 2017

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