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Not currently on display at the V&A

Daybed

1730-1740 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This highly coloured and rich-looking daybed is part of a very large suite of red-japanned furniture that was supplied from London to the Palace of Lazcano in Northern Spain in about 1735-40. The decoration is intended to look like East Asian lacquer, although the red ground was a fashionable European taste. The set, which included chairs, tables, mirrors, candlestands and bureaux, comprised more than 70 pieces, some of which carry the label of the maker, Giles Grendey. Grendey was a highly successful furniture maker, who is known to have been an active exporter of furniture. When a newspaper reported a fire in his workshop in 1731, it was stated that it had destroyed more than £1000 worth of furniture that was due to be exported the following day. He was amongst the few makers who labelled their furniture. Pieces from the suite survive in museum collections and with private owners throughout the world. The pair to this daybed is in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Object details

Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Beechwood, decorated with red and gold japanning, the seat caned
Brief description
Daybed with red-japanned frame, the seat caned
Physical description
A daybed with red-japanned frame decorated with chinoiseries, the seat caned, the back, with large central splat, is raked.
Design
The daybed is raised on eight cabriole legs with pad feet, joined with four cross-stretchers, joined to two longitudinal stretchers, the cross-stretchers straight, the longitudinal stretchers of serpentine form. The sloping back of the daybed shows uprights of elongated S-form, above short, straight sections, these continuing in a curved to meet the top of the shaped splat deriving from urn forms. The main decoration in gold and silver japanning, with details in black or gold is on the splat, with a scene of a finely dressed man and woman walking from viewer's right to left, with a servant behind, holding a sunshade over them, These figures include raised work. Above this scene the splat is decorated with scrolling ornmanent and birds. At the base of the splat are two flowers. The shoe is decorated with formal scrolling, its top edge with a double curve, rising to a central point. The back of the splat is japanned red but is otherwise undecorated. Elsewhere on the daybed the japanning shows little raised work and is carried out in gold and back, with lines in metallic paint outlining the main flat surfaces. On the uprights the decortion consists of alternate panels of strapwork and trellis, with scrolls against the top splat. On the side of the seat rails are birds among scrollwork, the design centreing on shells in the centre of each pair of legs. The paid feet are decorated with shells in gold and black, the top of the legs with foliage in gold and black, following the carved scrollwork on the spandrels. The tops of the stretchers, which are rounded, are decorated with a continuous band of flowers, probably stencilled, and carried out in metallic paint.
Construction
The legs and stretchers are of walnut, the rails and seat frame of beech. The rails are tenoned between the legs. Between each pair of legs is tenoned a beech cross brace, which is concave in shape to allow for the movement of the caned seat. The seat is constructed on a separate frame, that sits above the seat rails and is pierced on its inner edge for the framing.Its outer edge is moulded. This extra seat frame was attached before the japanning was done and would originally have been disguised by the paintwork.
Condition
The japanning has been restored on more than one occasion and one side of the seat frame (left or PR) has been replaced.
Dimensions
  • Height: 100cm
  • Seat width width: 75cm
  • At feet width: 81cm
  • Approx. length: 195cm
  • Back of back stile to end of bottom seat rail length: 175.5cm
Gallery label
DAY-BED ENGLISH; about 1730 Beechwood japanned in gold and silver on a scarlet ground Part of a suite of furniture supplied by Giles Grendey of St. John's Square, Clerkenwell, to the Duke of Infantado in Spain.(pre October 2000)
Object history
This daybed is part of a very large suite of red-japanned furniture made by Giles Grendey, probably for Don Juan de Dios de Silva Mendoza y Sandwal, (1672-1737) 10th Duke of Infantado or his daughter, Dona Maria Teresa de Silva y Mendoza (1707-1770), who became the 11th Duchess of Infantado, but possibly for Don Juan Raimondo de Arteaga-Lazcano y Chiruboga (d. 1761), 3rd Marquess of Valmediano, who owned the Palace of Lazcano, near San Sebastian, Northern Spain. Certainly, by the end of the 19th century, the suite, of at least 77 pieces, including tables, chairs, armchairs, mirrors, tripod stands and a number of desk and bookcases (what we would call bureaux) was at Lazcano, in the possession of the descendants of the dukes. Photographs of interiors of the palace, published in Cristina de Arteaga, La Casa del Infantado, cabeza des los Mendoza ( 2 vols, Madrid: 1944) show parts of the suite still in place in the palace. Pieces of the suite exist in several museums worldwide and the the suite is generally known as the 'Lazcano suite' or the 'Infantado suite'. Other pieces return regularly to the art market.

Giles Grendey (1693-1780) was born in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire and apprenticed in 1629 in London. When he set up on his own account, his earliest workshop was in St Paul's Churchyard, where he worked until he moved to St John's Square, Clerkenwell, in 1772. He is one of the few London makers in the 18th century who labelled his furniture and some pieces of the Lazcano suite carry his label. In addition, his pieces often carry pairs of initials, struck with a letter iron into the wood. These initials presumably mark the work of individual men within his workshop and apprenticeship records of the period show that workmen with these initials were under his tutelage in the period 1735-40. Grendey is also known as being a maker who carried on a lively export trade. In 1731, a fire in his workshop was reported in the newspapers (Daily Post and Daily Advertiser, 7 August). It noted that he had lost furniture 'for export' to the value of more than £1000, and one piece was described as being destined for 'a present to a German prince'. Pieces for export were often made in a particular style that was to the taste of the patron or intended market and this lavish red and god suite may have been designed with a Spanish market in mind. Japanned daybeds are unusual in England and the fact that two were supplied with this suite may reflect that it was intended for export.

In 1930 the German art dealer Adolph Loewi (1888-1977) visited the castle and acquired a large part of the suite, at least 50 chairs, 12 armchairs, 2 daybeds, 2 pairs of mirrors, a pair of candlestands, a card table and a tripod tea table. From his shops in Venice and later in the USA he sold the pieces to clients internationally. Walter Tower Rosen (1875-1951) acquired 30 pieces for his house Caramoor, in Katonah, New York State and are owned by the Rosen Foundation. These and others have scattered throughout the world in the subsequent years. The whereabouts of at least 58 pieces were known by 1978, when Christopher Gilbert published his catalogue Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall (Leeds: 1978), where he discussed the two armchairs and six single chairs in the collections there (vol. I, pp. 79-81). Other pieces have appeared on the market since.

Items from the set were shown in the Fiera Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Cremona in 1937.

The daybed was purchased from the dealer John Hunt, 300 Bury Street, London SW1, in 1938 for £280 (Registered File 38/4505).

Other pieces of the suite
Because of the regular movement of the suite through the art market, it is impossible either to know exactly how many pieces are extant or where they currently are but examples of the types represented in public collections are as follows:

Single chairs

1 single chair owned by the Metropolitan Museum, New York (acquired 1937, acc. no. 37.15)
6 single chairs are owned by Leeds City Council, Temple Newsam House (acquired 1970, cat. no. 61 in 1978 catalogue)

Armchairs
1 armchair, owned by Leeds City Council, Temple Newsam House (acquired 1970, cat. no. 61 in 1978 catalogue)

Daybeds
1 other daybed owned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia (acquired 1947, acc. no. 568-D4)

Card tables
1 owned by the Metropolitan Museum, New York (acquired 1937, acc. no. 37.114)

Desk-and-bookcases (bureaux)
1 in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago (acquired 2011, acc. no. 2011.799)

Mirrors
None recorded in public collections. One sold by Christie's New York, 14 April 1984.

The suite has frequently been published. Articles on the suite include the following (these references still to be checked):

R.W. Symonds, 'Giles Grendey (1693-1780) and the Export Trade of English Furniture to Spain', Apollo, 1935, pp. 337-342.
R.W. Symonds, Masterpieces of English Furniture and Clocks. London, 1940 pp. 87-88, figs 56-57.
R. Edwards and M. Jourdain, 'Georgian Cabinet-Makers VIII: Giles Grendey and William Hallett', Country Life, 1942, pp. 176-177.
C. de Arteago La Casa del Infantado, cabeza de Mendoza. Vol. II, 1944.
R.W. Symonds, In Search of Giles Grendey. 1955, p. 145
C. Gilbert, 'Furniture by Giles Grendey for the Spanish Trade', The Magazine Antiques, April 1971, pp. 544-550.
'English Japanned Furniture'. Connoisseur, June 1964, p. 120.
Leeds Art Calendar, no. 66 (1970), p. 3
Collector's Guide, January 1971, p. 68.
H. Huth, Lacquer of the West (1971), pls. 65-66
G. Wills, English Furniture 1550-1760 (London, 1971), p. 130
S. Jervis, 'A Great Dealer in the Cabinet Way: Giles Grendey (1693-1780), Country Life 1974, pp. 1418-1419.
C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, vol. I (Leeds, 1978), pp. 79-81, with further information in vol. III
G. Beard and J. Goodison, English Furniture 1500-1840 (Oxford, 1987), pp. 34 and 86)
C. Gilbert, The Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840 (Leeds: 1996), pp. 31-32 and figs. 442-451.
C. Ordoñez Goded, 'Japanning en España. Un lote de muebles de laca color escarlata realizado po Giles Grendey'. Revista de la Associación para el estudio del mueble, nr. 14 (Barcelona, 2011), pp. 14-2
Association
Summary
This highly coloured and rich-looking daybed is part of a very large suite of red-japanned furniture that was supplied from London to the Palace of Lazcano in Northern Spain in about 1735-40. The decoration is intended to look like East Asian lacquer, although the red ground was a fashionable European taste. The set, which included chairs, tables, mirrors, candlestands and bureaux, comprised more than 70 pieces, some of which carry the label of the maker, Giles Grendey. Grendey was a highly successful furniture maker, who is known to have been an active exporter of furniture. When a newspaper reported a fire in his workshop in 1731, it was stated that it had destroyed more than £1000 worth of furniture that was due to be exported the following day. He was amongst the few makers who labelled their furniture. Pieces from the suite survive in museum collections and with private owners throughout the world. The pair to this daybed is in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.
Bibliographic references
  • Kopplin, Monika. European Lacquer. Selected Works from the Museum für Lakkunst, Münster. Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2010. ISBN 9783777489308, p. 69, fig. 5b
  • Dunsmore, Amanda, 'The Giles Grendey Daybed in the National Gallery of Victoria', in Proceedings of the Inaugural Australian Furniture History Symposium, Canberra 24/5 March 2007, ed. Greg Peters and Jim Kennedy, pp. 66-71.
  • Jervis, Simon, 'A Great Dealer in the Cabinet Way. Giles Grendey (1693-1780)'. Country Life, 6 June 1974, pp. 1418-1419, illustrated on p. 1419.
  • 'Export Furniture', The Cabinet Maker and Complete House Furnisher, 15 April 1939, p. 58.
  • Ralph Edwards and Margaret Jourdain, Georgian Cabinet-Makers (London: Country Life Ltd, 1944), p. 28 and plate 44.
Collection
Accession number
W.64-1938

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Record createdNovember 20, 2000
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