Chairs by George Bullock, Set of 4, England, 1816
Second Height: 17
A rare and important set of four side or dining chairs by famed and short-lived English Regency-period cabinet-maker and sculptor George Bullock (c. 1782 – 1818) of klismos form; the pollard oak frames having foliate inlays of ebony with burled holly tablets on crest rails and upholstered slip-seats.
An identical chair is pictured in ‘George Bullock Cabinet Maker, Introduction by Clive Wainwright’ on page 90, example 27: ‘Four Chairs – Oak inlaid with holly’ with description as “The design for these chairs appears in the Wilkinson Tracings 9p. 5; here. 50). They are designed with a similarly deep rake to the back as those sold by Christie’s from the Dining Room at Tew Park, and are part of a set of sixteen chairs formerly in the same house. It is not possible positively to identify these chairs in Bullock’s account to M.R. Boulton, which records no other long suites apart from two sets of six oak chairs (apparently not inlaid), supplied for the Library and Drawing Room at a cost of £18.18. 0 per six. However, the extensive correspondence reveals that furniture was frequently swapped around , and it is possible that these chairs came to Tew during one of these changes. A further set of ten chairs of virtually the same design as these, but not from Tew Park, exist in a private collection. Bullock’s use of dark, formalized inlays into pale wood on these chairs, and frequently elsewhere on his furniture, seems to anticipate the decoration on ‘boise clair’ furniture so fashionable in France during the 1820s.”
George Bullock (c. 1782 – 1818) was one of the most highly esteemed Regency furniture makers with a well researched career. After practicing as a sculptor in Liverpool, Bullock entered into short-lived cabinet-making partnerships, firstly with Wiliam Stoakes (1805 – 07) and then George and Joseph Gandy (1809 – 10), before setting up business in London on his own account (1812 – 18). His furniture displays a strongly individual personality, and is particularly noted for his use of native British woods and marbles, and for the prominence of boulle and inlaid woods and metal in his furniture. Much of his inlays used British flora like hops and oak leaves instead of the more conventional classical motifs so prevalent during the period. He personally designed many pieces, although Richard Bridgens was responsible for others. An impressive body of documented furniture has been identified, his most important commissions being for Cholmondeley Castle, Speke Hall, Blair Castle, Abbotsford, Battle Abbey, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile house on St. Helena. Only one cabinet by Bullock is known to exists with his stamp, leaving all other of his furnishings unmarked.
Wainwright, Clive. ‘George Bullock Cabinet Maker’. London: John Murray Ltd. and H. Blairman & Sons Ltd., 1988, pp. 90; 157.
Gilbert, Christopher. ‘Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture, 1700-1840’. Leeds: The Furniture History Society and W.S. Maney and Son Ltd, 1996. p. 20.
Collard, Frances. ‘Regency Furniture’. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1985, p. 330.
Condition: Excellent. Wear consistent with age and use.
Number of items: 4
Second Height: 17
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