A good set of six rare George III Irish fruitwood ladderback dining chairs circa 1765
Lot 60
A set of six George III Irish mahogany ladderback Dining Chairs
Sold for £3,360 (US$ 5,644) inc. premium
Lot Details
Irish Furniture
A set of six George III Irish mahogany ladderback Dining Chairs
the pierced horizontal shaped splats above close-nailed stuffover seats, on square moulded legs joined by 'H' stretchers, several with old paper label to the underside 'Dining Room Chairs', some rerailing/restrengthening(6)


  • Provenance: Woodhill, Co.Cork
    Possibly supplied to John Penrose (1706-1789) and thence by descent to
    His son, Cooper Penrose (1736-1816);
    Thence by descent at Woodhill to James Edward Penrose (d. 1936)

    Woodhill was the seat of the Penrose family. The Penroses were Quakers with significant interests in shipping, property, glass and milling in the 18th and early 19th Century. Their glass factories were responsible for fine cut glass decanters, chandeliers and drinking glasses. Woodhill was built between 1790 and 1800 by Cooper Penrose (1736-1816) and became noted for its impressive picture collection. Penrose was a major patron of the Cork-born artist James Barry R.A. Peter Murray wrote in the Irish Arts Review that:

    The galleries at Woodhill were contained within wings added, around 1802, to both sides of the late 18th century house. These wings were set back from the central block, an arrangement followed at nearby Dunkathel House. The West Wing contained the art galleries and was one storey in height, while the two storey East Wing was used for offices and kitchens. The central block, with Adam style fireplaces, staircase and plasterwork ceilings, had large rectangular sash windows. By the standards of Cork's usually austere Neo-Classicism, Woodhill was a dramatic and beautiful house

    Penrose himself was painted by Jacques-Louis David in 1802, (now in the collection of the Timkin Art Gallery, San Diego, California). David noted in his diary after his meeting with Penrose that:

    I will represent him in a manner worthy of us both. This painting will be a monument which will attest to Ireland and all the virtues of a good family man, and the talents of the painter who was painted it.

    The Penrose family moved to England in 1933 taking their collection with them. The collection was little documented until is was re-discovered by The Knight of Glin in the 1980s which resulted in the acquisition of a large part of the collection by John and Helena Mooney for the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork and it has now been installed in three 18th century panelled rooms in the museum.

    An important pair of George II Irish mahogany and parcel gilt mirrors from Woodhill and attributed to John Houghton and John Kelly are illustrated in The Knight of Glin and J.Peill, Irish Furniture, Yale, 2007, p.76, pl.93 and were sold Christie's London, 27 April 1995, lot 35.

    A set of eight chairs of identical form were thought to have been supplied to Alexander McDonnell, fith Earl of Antrim (1713-75) for the newly rebuilt Glenarm Castle, Co. Antrim, circa 1750. The Glenarm Castle chairs are illustrated in The Knight of Glin and J.Peill, op.cit., page 212, pl.34.
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