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Child's chair

Child's chair

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1855 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood (possibly beech), carved, turned, japanned and inlaid with mother of pearl, cane seat

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Georgina Craufurd

  • Museum number:

    B.22-2017

  • Gallery location:

    New Acquisitions, Museum of Childhood

Child-sized seating has existed for many centuries, although the earliest confirmed pieces might date from the late fifteenth century. The first nurseries, rooms specifically intended for the use of young children, may have appeared around the same time. In the medieval period, children usually sat on stools in their early years, until old enough to use adult furniture. Until the late-nineteenth century, nursery chairs tended to be miniature versions of adult seating and followed the stylistic conventions of the periods in which they were made. Children’s exposure to fine furniture was meant to build their taste and appreciation for fine things and accelerate their development towards adult life, as well as sending out a clear message of the conspicuous wealth and respectability of their parents.

Physical description

Child's chair of japanned wood, possibly beech, with a round back, turned legs and a cane seat. The back is inlaid with mother of pearl in a Greek key pattern, with circular 'pearls' around the edge of the seat. There is gilded decoration in the form of a broad gold stripe on the seat's apron, thinner parallel lines surrounding the inlay of the chair's back, and scrolling elements on the front legs and the front stretcher.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

ca. 1855 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wood (possibly beech), carved, turned, japanned and inlaid with mother of pearl, cane seat

Dimensions

Height: 68 cm, Width: 33 cm, Depth: 36 cm approx

Object history note

The donor's family history of the chair held that it was purchased by her ancestor, Athelstan Corbet (1837-1926), at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, during the 1848 revolution. Unfortunately, this would have been impossible, since the first international exhibition was not held until 1851, in London, and the first in Paris was not until 1855. Stylistically, the chair is closer to the later date. It was in her family's possession since the mid-19th century, coming to her via her mother, Helen Corbet (1913-2005), the great-grand daughter of Athelstan Corbet. The chair was given to the Museum in 2017 [2017/324].

Historical context note

Child-sized seating has existed for many centuries, although the earliest confirmed pieces might date from the late fifteenth century. The first nurseries, rooms specifically intended for the use of young children, may have appeared around the same time. In the medieval period, children usually sat on stools in their early years, until old enough to use adult furniture. Until the late-nineteenth century, nursery chairs tended to be miniature versions of adult seating and followed the stylistic conventions of the periods in which they were made. Children’s exposure to fine furniture was meant to build their taste and appreciation for fine things and accelerate their development towards adult life, as well as sending out a clear message of the conspicuous wealth and respectability of their parents.

Descriptive line

Child's chair, japanned wood (beech?) with a mother of pearl inlay and cane seat, made in France in about 1855-60

Materials

Beech; Mother of pearl; Cane

Techniques

Turning; Carving; Caning; Japanning; Inlay; Gilding

Categories

Furniture; Children & Childhood

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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