A set of eight Italian crimson ground, gilt, silvered and tooled leather wall panels, probably Venetian, late 17th/early 18th century, presented in two runs of three and one pair, each with stylised foliage, strapwork and lambrequins, each tile approximately 52 x 48cm
Allegedly acquired from the house of the Spanish Ambassador in Mexico City, by 1946
Ockwells Manor, before the 1960s, when owned by Mr Patrick Chung
Thence by family descent to the present owner
Referred to by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as 'the most refined and the most sophisticated timber-framed mansion in England', Ockwells Manor was built for Sir John Norreys in 1446 and much of its 15th century form survives to this day. It is renowned for its collection of heraldic stained glass, and elaborate carvings which may have been executed by the craftsmen of Eton college. The house had fallen into disrepair by the 19th century, when it was restored by Sir Edward Barry. It is said that concerns about the fate of this noted example of timber-frame architecture led to the founding of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings by William Morris.
The wall tiles in the present lot were noted by the author James Wentworth Day, when he wrote about Ockwells in 'Harvest Adventures' first published by George Harrap in 1946. Wentworth Day describes tiles as follows:
'A superb collection of old stamped Spanish leather wall-coverings in gold and silver on crimson was obtained from the House of the Spanish Ambassador in Mexico City .', (Chapter XIV, the Tale of a Unique English Manor House)
While leather tiles are often considered to be of a Spanish or Netherlandish tradition, the ones presented here have previously been likened to panels at Schloss Moritzburg (specifically the Hunting Lodge) which are known to have been commissioned from Venetian artisans.
Some minor wear and losses but the colours are vibrant and well preserved overall.
Old restorations and strengthening to the rear of the panels.
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