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Preliminary design for a chair and designs for a chair, sofas and a confident sofa, 1779-1780, as executed (5)

The en suite designs for a chair, small and large sofa, and confident appear to have been executed. Two small sofas, to the design for Adam volume 17/85 were sold at Christie’s, 3rd May 1923 (lot 102) by the 3rd Earl Brownlow, a descendant of Sir Abraham Hume. They then passed into the collection of the Duke of Roxburghe, to be sold again at Christie’s, 31st May 1956 (lot 87). As of December 2005 a pair of sofas, again to this design were presented for sale with Pelham Galleries, London.

The carving for the surviving pieces has been attributed to Sefferin Nelson. The designs for the suite upholstery match the surviving working drawings (Adam volume 17/88-90). The inscriptions for these drawings assign the same upholstery design to the seat furniture for the first, second and great drawing rooms.

Harris notes the design for SM Adam 17/86 presents an unusual chair back, supported by sphinxes. She highlights that the only other known comparable design is for a chair for Osterley, SM Adam volume 17/87. The Osterley chair, dated 24th April 1777, predates this design for Hume, and Adam’s later design is considered more elegant in comparison. Harris also notes similarities between Adam volumes 6/162 and 17/86. Indeed Adam volume 6/162 would appear to be a preliminary design for Adam volume 17/86.

Harris also points to the unique inclusion of a confident as part of the suite, (Adam volume 17/83). The confident was to become popular in use throughout the 1780s, however this design is comparatively early.
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