George III Pontypool Polychrome Tole Screen

Attributed to Frederick Crace, circa 1820, probably Pontypool.

The red, gilt and polychrome painted surround of this exquisitely decorated 3 fold  screen contains panels of flowers interspersed with sprays of flowering foliage. This surround encloses nine tole panels, the three large centre panels depicting everyday pastimes with figures in or near garden pavilions in a tree lined and rocky landscape close to a river.  The central panel appears to depict a sage and his family being collected for a river excursion in a junk. In the left hand panel a family seem to be purchasing fish from two passing fisherman.  The right hand panel depicts a couple playing checkers watched by an elder and a lady, while another couple appear to be amused by a pet pheasant.  The six smaller panels display various gilt flowers and foliage within trellis borders.

The reverse conforms to the front although the nine tole panels consist of gilt birds, buildings, butterflies and insects in flowering foliage.

The folding action is articulated. The decoration on the reverse faded.

Although the Pontypool tole output was mostly small objects, this screen forms part of a small and extremely rare group of large furnishing pieces which are likely to have been designed by Crace when he was furnishing the Brighton Pavilion for the Prince Regent.

For a closely related table with very similar decoration see Ronald Phillips ref 4452041  with provenance for Mary Duchess of Roxburghe  Crewe House, London and West Horsley Place, Surrey

Other known Tole furniture pieces are as follows:

A Cabinet lot 6 sold by Christies from the Kenneth Neame collection 13/6/18 £93,750.  Previously in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire.

A Centre Table lot 624 sold Sothebys from the Peter Maitland and Francis Egerton collection 28/4/2010 £55,000

Pair of Cabinets sold Sothebys Chester 8th April 1988 and London 5th May 1989


Height: 83” (211cm); Width each panel: 27” (68.5cm); Depth: 1” (2.5cm)

Collections: Archive