9849 AN EXQUISITE AND RARE PAIR OF LACQUERED AND MARBLEIZED BENCHES IN THE ENGLISH TASTE Spain. Circa 1755. Measurements: Height: 35″ (89 cm) Width: 76 3/4″ (194.5 cm) Depth: 19 3/4″ (50 cm)
Of chestnut. Retaining all original lacquer and marbleized decoration in colors of red, blue, yellow and white. Each with shaped rectangular solid paneled back decorated with stylized foliate urns and demi-urns interspersed with fields of white marbled decoration interrupted by fleur de lys and rocaille patterns emerging from a blue border. The cleated rectangular white marbleized seat with molded edge rests upon a red lacquered plain frieze above four red lacquer cabriole front legs. The legs united by shaped aprons and chamfered stretchers.
From an important palace in Casalarreina, La Rioja, Spain.
Spanish furniture in the 18th century was influenced by English models, and the design for the present benches follows the George II taste. The extremely high caliber of the lacquer, as well as the quality of construction also suggests an English influence, and it is possible that they were made by or under the direction of English craftsmen.
The present benches come from an important palace in Casalarreina in northern Spain and correspond to the vogue on the Iberian peninsula at that time for red lacquered furniture. This is particularly evidenced by the celebrated collection of red lacquer pieces supplied by master craftsman Giles Grendey circa 1730 for the Lazcano Palace, which is in the same region as Casalarreina, and where many pieces remain. “Wealthy Spaniards were passionately fond of lacquer”1 and responsible for numerous commissions, heavily influencing the English lacquer trade in Spain and Portugal.
In addition to lacquer, the benches are also painted with stylized foliate urns marbleized decoration, reflecting the refined techniques painting faux finishes and trompe l’oeil deigns on wood in the 18th century.
1. Gilbert, Christopher. “Furniture by Giles Grendey for the Spanish Trade.” Antiques, Apr. 1971: 549.