A set of four, exceptional, 18th century, carved, walnut sidechairs with upholstered stuff-over seats.

September 18, 2019 2:37 pm Published by

The shaped crestings are elaborately carved with acanthus leaves and scrollwork around a central cartouche which was probably originally painted with a coat of arms. The backs with central uprights finely, carved with strapwork, acanthus leaves, scrolls and shell motifs bordered with reeded oval cartouches. These are flanked by reeded uprights terminating in classical columns and baluster turned uprights. The stuff-over seats re-upholstered in a late-17th century, gold brocatelle and faced with a late-17th century, gold fringe. The front legs are turned with a mushroom capping above a tapering section on faceted blocks decorated with carved leaves. The back legs have a slight rake, and mushroom and baluster turnings. Standing on original bun feet. The front stretchers are elaborately carved with central urns amongst scrolls and floral motifs. Exceptional original colour and patina.

Chairs of this calibre rarely come onto the open market. These are of the type that one sees either illustrated in classic reference books, or standing in grand country houses and stately homes, such as Knowle, Ham House and Penshurst Place. They are usually placed in symmetrical groups against the walls in reception rooms when not in use. This shows their magnificently carved backs, crestings and stretchers to full advantage, and creates an arresting visual display.

These chairs are typical of the more elaborately, carved chairs which recall the designs of Daniel Marot who spent some years in England in the service of the King. Although they copied continental designs, many were doubtless made in England by immigrant craftsmen. Although chairs with scrolled front legs continued to be made, in about 1690 vertical forms became fashionable. The cappings are often pear or mushroom-shaped carved with gadroons and below is a turned section tapered to a rectangular block above an octagonal or spherical foot. Sometimes the leg is enriched with mouldings, while small, sunk panels are found on the square sections. The stretchers on such chairs are not attached midway to the front legs but set back and tenoned into the side stretchers at a lower level. The seats were upholstered with sumptuous fabrics such as coloured Genoa velvet and silk passementerie.

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This post was written by joecollinson