possibly John Bladwell (fl.1725-1768)
An armchair, from a set of eight giltwood armchairs, circa 1755-1760, en suite with a sofa (NT 137629), with a serpentine shaped back carved with foliage on a matt ground, the sides issuing padded arm-rests on scrolling supports above a shaped seat on cabriole legs, carved with foliage on an incised ground, terminating in scroll feet. The back and seat are covered with tapestry in the French taste, the back depicting an Aesop's Fable after the illustrations by Francis Barlow published in 1666, the seat with still lives of fruit within similar foliage borders. One tapestry back panel of the set is signed "Danthon", the name of a family of Huguenot weavers working in London, recorded from before 1707. The present set was acquired by Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh as part of the refurnishing and redecoration of Uppark House after his return from the Grand Tour in 1752. It might have been supplied by John Bladwell (fl.1725-1768), established in Covent Garden, who provided carved giltwood furniture to Uppark between 1750-60 as his name occurs several times in Sir Matthew's accounts books. Equally, Paul Saunders (1722-1771), upholsterer and cabinet maker established on Soho Square, received "£33.0.6d" for 'Tapestry' from Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh in 1761 (Sir Matthew's accounts book 20th March 1761). A set of walnut armchairs at Petworth covered with tapestry depicting the same subject are also attributed to Saunders (NT485400.1-6). The distinctive design of these armchairs with their wide tapering backs are close to some "French chairs" illustrated in Chippendale's "Director" published in 1754.
Acquired by Matthew Fetherstonhaugh (1714-1774); by descent; given to the National Trust in 1954 with the house and some of its contents by Admiral the Hon. Sir Herbert Meade-Fetherstonhaugh.
Makers and roles
possibly John Bladwell (fl.1725-1768), carver and gilder possibly Paul Saunders (1722-1771), cabinet maker and upholsterer
Jackson-Stops 1985: Gervase Jackson-Stops (ed.), The Treasure Houses of Britain: five hundred years of private patronage and art collecting, exh. cat. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, New Haven and London 1985