Hall seat

Ref: 1827
  • Detail

    Oak, with painted decoration

    44.5 x 71.5 x 40 cm

    English, late 1820s

  • Provenance

    Viscount Combermere, Combermere Abbey […]; with H. Blairman & Sons, 2014;

    private collection 2014-24

  • Notes

    Sir Stapleton Cotton (1773-1865) served in India, and in the Peninsular Wars.  The Duke of Wellington commended his role in the decisive victory at Salamanca: ‘By God, Cotton, I never saw anything so beautiful in my life.  The day is yours.’  Cotton was made a Baron in 1814 and a Viscount In 1827.

    The hall seat shown here, with the Cotton motto ‘Utraque Fortuna Paratus’ and grandiose armorial embellishment, including a Viscount’s coronet, can be dated to the late 1820s.

    The family seat, Combermere Abbey, Cheshire, was Gothicised by Cotton between 1814 and 1821.  The architect is unknown, but remodelling schemes were commissioned around 1829, including from Edward Blore (1787-1879).

    In 2020, there were calls for the removal of Carlo Marochetti’s distinguished equestrian statue of Viscount Combermere (1865), erected in his honour in Chester: he was also an owner of slaves.

    According to legend, Combermere was extremely vain and self-important.  He was caricatured by Thackeray in The Book of Snobs (1848) as Sir George Tufto, ‘whose breast sparkled with innumerable decorations.’

    Perhaps Combermere’s self-importance accounts for the hall seat’s outsized armorial embellishment that would have greeted visitors to the Abbey.

    [These notes draw on, among other sources, Peter de Figeiredo and Julian Treuherz, Cheshire Country Houses (Chichester: Philimore, 1988, pp. 60-65 ‘Combermere Abbey, Combermere’]