A rare and magnificent late-17th century oak chair-table, finely carved, bearing the initals

September 18, 2019 2:37 pm Published by

The plank top with moulded edges, worn at the lower end. The chair-back top corners carved with angel heads and wings above a both a central gadrooned and a shaped arch. The sides with applied mouldings and iron bars acting as a hinge for converting into a table. The initials “A” and “L” carved above the date “1699”, and the centre carved with stems growing from a root with bunches of grapes, leaves and tulip and flower-heads, culminating in a fan-shaped leaf-head. The chair with scrolled arms attached to the seat by ball-and-fillet turnings. The frieze with a drawer with replaced knob and partially replaced mouldings above ball-and-fillet turned legs joined by square stretchers. Replaced toes. Excellent colour and patina. English, 1699.

Due to their highly utalitarian nature very few chair tables survive today, especially in this degree of condition, and they are generally only seen in either museum or country house collections. Notwithstanding the rarity of this type of furniture, this piece displays other rare characteristics. The quality of the carving is exceptionally fine, and rarely found on chair-tables due to their functional nature. It probably accounts for the survival of this piece, which has spent most of its life being used as a chair displaying these fine carvings as the carpenter intended. The original ironwork and wear at the lower-end, where it has stood on the floor, also indicate that it has not been used a great deal as a table during its life. The magnificent proportion of this piece is exceptionally rare and there is no other, known, example of a chair-table large enough to convert to a 6-seater table where the chair back touches the floor.

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This post was written by joecollinson