A pair of George I carved walnut, ebonised and boxwood line-inlaid side chairs circa 1715 (2)

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Lot 15TP
A pair of George I carved walnut, ebonised and boxwood line-inlaid side chairs
circa 1715

Sold for £ 15,000 (US$ 18,949) inc. premium
A pair of George I carved walnut, ebonised and boxwood line-inlaid side chairs
circa 1715
Each with a serpentine scrolled acanthus carved toprail centred by a stippled stylised shell cresting incorporating six shallow relief-carved rosette and husk pendant straps, above a vase shaped splat with interlacing line-inlay, flanked by shallow relief carved foliate strapwork stiles, on foliate scrolled, scallop shell and acanthus clasped scrolled cabriole front legs terminating in leaf wrapped front feet, with cabriole back legs, 55cm wide. (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The present lot was possibly supplied to the Lyttelton family of Hagley Park, subsequently Hagley Hall, near Stourbridge in Worcestershire. Possibly commissioned by Sir Thomas Lyttelton, 4th Baronet (1686-1751). It is interesting to note that the shell carved on each crest of the offered chairs is very similar to the scallop shell which forms part of the coat of arms of the Lyttelton family.
    Purchased in 1936 at a Mallett and Son Exhibition (sale) of English Furniture, Needlework, Silver, Porcelains and Objects of Art, 40 New Bond Street, lot 146.
    The present pair were very likely originally from a set of at least nine chairs since another identical chair forming part of seven in total featured in an advertisement for Vernay, 124 East 55th Street, New York, in The Connoisseur, March 1963.

    A virtually identical chair to the offered lot is illustrated in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, Vol. I, revised and enlarged by R. Edwards, C.B.E., F.S.A., 1953, fig. 88, p. 255. In fact, it seems highly probable that the chair which appears in this edition of the dictionary is in fact one of the exact same from the present pair, although evidently the drop-in seats have since been re-upholstered.

    Edwards outlines the historical evolution of this type of English late baroque chair in the accompanying text. In his view, the more elongated splat with elaborate carved uprights had its origins in the Daniel Marot style which was at its most fashionable in England during the first decade of the 18th century. On these high-backed chairs, the top rails became increasingly sinuous or vigorously serpentine over the course of Queen Anne's reign, perhaps reaching a high point of exaggeration at the very end of her rule in circa 1715. The progressively curvilinear shape of vase splats accommodated the natural shape of the back, in turn allowing for greater comfort, while such so-called 'India' or 'fiddle' backs took on more complex forms in general.

    Although these aforementioned characteristics are clearly evident on the offered chairs, Edwards notes that certain variants are also apparent. For example the low-relief carved strapwork is reminiscent of the shallow gilt gesso ornamentation typical of so much furniture produced during the reign of George I. Other features on the present pair which seem to depart from the conventional elements of contemporary chair design are the entwined branches carved to the centre of the seat frame and the elegant foliate wrapped feet.

    Literature
    R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1953.
Contacts
A pair of George I carved walnut, ebonised and boxwood line-inlaid side chairs circa 1715 (2)
A pair of George I carved walnut, ebonised and boxwood line-inlaid side chairs circa 1715 (2)
A pair of George I carved walnut, ebonised and boxwood line-inlaid side chairs circa 1715 (2)
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