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Pelham Galleries - London - 2-seater Sofa-Pelham Galleries - London

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2 Seater Sofa

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The Hume Sofas
Designed by Robert Adam, London 1780
The Carving Attributed to Sefferin Nelson

Height: 43 in. (109 cm)
Width: 52 in. (132 cm)
Depth: 28.5 in. (72.5 cm)

The present covering fabric has been embroidered with a design exactly corresponding to Adam?s original drawing.

Provenance: Commissioned by Sir Abraham Hume, Bt, for his house at 31 Hill Street, Mayfair (now no.17), 1779; bequeathed to his son-in-law John Cust, 1st Earl Brownlow, thence by descent to the 3rd Earl Brownlow (d.1921); sold by his estate, Christie?s London, 3 May 1923; purchased by M. Harris and sold to the Duke of Roxborough; sold by his estate Christie?s London 31 May 1956; purchased by F. Partridge and sold to Mrs Henry Ford II; sold Christie?s New York, 28 March 1981; private collection.

Illustrated in Eileen Harris, The Furniture of Robert Adam (London 1963), pl.124, and G. Beard and J. Goodison, English Furniture 1500-1840 (Oxford 1987), p.178.

These settees correspond to a watercolour drawing by Robert Adam (Sir John Soane?s Museum, London) dated 9 March 1780 and annotated Sopha for Sir Abraham Hume. The final design of the settees differs slightly in that the drawing uses four rather than three legs at the front. Adam worked for Hume between 1778 and 1780 and designed a full set of furniture for the house, including armchairs, confidantes, tables, girandoles, mirrors, frames, cornices and carpets ? designs for all of which also survive in the Soane Museum. The present sofas were almost certainly part of the furnishings of the smallest of the three drawing rooms on the first floor of the house.

The bank records of Sir Abraham Hume?s bankers, Goslings, show payments between 1778 and 1783 related to the decoration of the house, amounting to a total of £3352 2s 11d. There are payments to both the carver and gilder Sefferin Nelson, and to George Seddon, of £879.15 and £1405 12s 5d, respectively. Seddon (c.1727-1801), originally from Lancashire, had established a cabinetmaking practice in Aldersgate Street in the City of London by 1753, which by the 1760s had become the largest furniture manufacturer in London. Of the two suppliers, it is most probable that it was Nelson who was responsible for the manufacture of the settees. Adam used Nelson to provide urns and pedestals, mirrors and ornamental friezes for numerous projects, including Lansdowne House, Kenwood, Nostell Priory, and Derby House in Grosvenor Square. In the case of Derby Hous

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