A member of a wealthy banking family and sophisticated patron of the arts, Thomas Hope (1739 – 1861) set out to influence and improve contemporary taste through the publication of his own collection in Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807).
Following interest in ancient Rome and Greece, attention turned to Egypt as a major source of inspiration for furniture and interior design. This ‘Egyptian” bench shows influence of Hope’s archeological taste and may have been part of the furnishings of his country house The Deepdene, Dorking, Surrey (outside London). It was possibly sold in the Christie’s sale of the Hope heirlooms held at Deepdene over six consecutive days in September of 1917. Lot 1044, sold on September 17th, consisted of: “a carved 4ft. 4in. gilt Egyptian pattern settee with scroll ends, on claw feet, and squab seat upholstered in gold satin damask.”
While several surviving pieces of furniture can be attached to the detailed line drawings, Hope never remarked on the fabrics to be used. The present wool covers are based on fiber fragments from this bench and on original textile remains from a settee also designed by Hope, which is now at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.