The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)

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Lot 30TP
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels

Sold for £ 37,562 (US$ 44,618) inc. premium
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels
painted in colours on a taupe ground and later framed, the panels depicting various mountainous and watery landscape scenes with trees, flowering foliage, rockwork and buildings, including military and civilian figures within pagodas and pavillions, standing on terraces or in gardens, some seated in junks and dragon boats, all mounted within silvered moulded wooden frames, comprising three small panels: 48cm x 110cm, 52cm x 112cm and 72cm x 102cm, a set of three large panels, 234cm x 92cm, five other large panels of differing sizes: 230cm x 117cm, 234cm x 118cm, 235cm x 104cm, 234cm x 62cm, 233cm x 93cm, and four medium panels: 166cm x 82cm, 167cm x 80cm, 168cm x 104, 168cm x 132cm, (sizes all approximate including frames) 78cm high, 82cm wide, 36cm deep (15)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    By repute Moor Park Hertfordshire

    With Toynbee-Clarke Interiors, Mount Street, London, c.2002
    George Toynbee-Clarke founded the firm of Toynbee-Clarke Interiors, which he and his wife Daphne ran for 50 years — dealing for most of that time in antique wallpapers and become famous in interior decorating circles around the world.

    It is possible that this suite of papers were removed from Moor Park, Hertfordshire at the time when the house and grounds were sold by the Grosvenor family in 1919. Nevertheless, no known public auction of the contents of the house occurred that year as was usually common during the sales of large country houses. However, examples of furniture and furnishings are known to have been removed from the house by the Grosvenor family and dispersed to it various members after the death of the 2nd Baron Ebury in 1918.

    Of note, a pair of George II gilt wood arm chairs, designed by Robert Adam, and made by James Lawson, c.1764, are known to have been sold by the 5th Baron at Christie's on 5th May 1942.

    A photograph of the large dining room taken during the time of the 2nd Baron (c.1912) shows a suite of Chinese wallpaper which was removed from the house and is now in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The decoration on the paper (c.1750) features a design of trees and plant forms growing out of pots together with birds, butterflies, lanterns and bird cages on a blue ground.

    As Moor Park was a large and important house it is likely that other principle reception rooms, or least one of the 38 bedrooms within the house also featured Chinese wallpaper. Therefore, the current lot may have been removed at the time that the contents was dispersed to members of the Grosvenor family.

    Chinese wallpapers appeared for sale in Europe in the late 17th century as part of the larger trade in Chinese artefacts such as lacquer, porcelain and silks. Imported by the East India and Dutch East India companies these hand-painted papers, and the European 'chinoiserie' papers that they inspired set a fashion that endured throughout the 18th century into the 19th century and then again periodically in the late 19th and early 20th century centuries.

    Most of the great houses of Europe had at least one room decorated with a Chinese paper, either original or imitation and by the end of the 18th century they could be found in more modest houses. Although many of the earlier papers were used in state reception or bedrooms they were eventually considered equally suitable for more 'feminine' rooms such as private chambers, boudoirs and bedrooms.

    Usually supplied in sets of 24 or 40 pieces the Chinese papers were often hung to form continuous murals decoration around the room and featured exotic subject matter which can be divided into three main categories - scenes of Chinese life and landscapes often depicting daily life and industry, flowering trees populated with birds, butterflies and insects and a hybrid form of the flowering tree papers also incorporating figures and sometimes pagodas and temples. The papers differed to those available made in Europe with their rich hand-painted colours and fine detail. However, their cost in comparison to locally-made wallpapers meant that they were purchased and hung by the wealthy. As such they were highly prized furnishings so were often removed and rehung when necessary.

    Interestingly the Chinese did not use painted wallpapers preferring plain papers. However, it was Chinese practice particularly in the trading ports of Canton and Macao to paste painted pictorial papers over windows. As such it could be that these papers were admired by European merchants which led the Chinese to produce similar decorations for export.

    As Chinese papers were relatively expensive and orders for special designs or colourways could take upwards to two years to be delivered it was not surprising then that European manufacturers began to produced imitations.

    Moor Park was built in 1678 for James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. Upon his death, the property passed to his wife, Ann Scott. In 1752 the house was brought by Admiral Lord Anson who commissioned Capability Brown to oversee the re-design of the gardens. The house was purchased by Thomas Bates Rous, formerly of the East India Company and MP for Worcester. After a series of owners, the estate was finally purchased by Robert Grosvenor, First Baron Ebury in 1828. In 1919, Lord Leverhulme bought Moor Park and commissioned golf course designer Harry Colt to lay out the courses that now surround the mansions. The house and golf club then passed into the procession of Hertfordshire Country Council.

    Literature
    Emile de Bruijn, Andrew Bush and Helen Clifford, Chinese Wallpaper in National Trust Houses, National Trust, pp.'s 1-48
    Martin Pendrick, Moor Park, The Grosvenor Legacy, Riverside books 1989
Contacts
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
The Moor Park Wallpapers: A set of fifteen late 18th century Chinese wallpaper panels (15)
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