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Chair

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1845 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Walnut, upholstered with Berlin wool-work and wool velvet

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Evans

  • Museum number:

    W.93-1921

  • Gallery location:

    Furniture, Room 133, The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, case BY2, shelf CASE

This chair is typical of seat furniture made for the sitting room or parlour of middle- or upper-class Victorian households. Its form and carved elements are drawn from the mid-eighteenth century Rococo style, a style that had originated in France, a country whose tastes and fashions were held in high esteem in nineteenth-century Britain. Typical of early Victorian chairs, the front legs are richly carved and exposed, and the back is framed in carved wood. The original upholstery has survived in very good condition, as have the coiled metal springs underneath - a recently developed technique that gave the chair extra resilience and resulted in an increase in the depth of the upholstery.

As well as being necessary, the generous proportions of the back and seat gave the appearance of comfort and the needlework upholstery added a note of luxury. The back and seat are covered in Berlin woolwork, so-called because the first printed patterns and dyed wools came had come from Berlin (from 1804 onwards). Berlin woolwork was the most popular embroidery technique used in Britain between 1830 and the 1870s, and the motifs on this chair, with opulent bouquets of flowers - often, as here, full-blown roses and convolvulus - were popular motifs also found on carpets, wallpaper and papier mâché furniture at this time. A similar chair appears among a suite of furniture depicted in a watercolour made of the sitting room of a student at Christ Church, Oxford, in the 1850s (E.3253-1948).

Physical description

Upholstered walnut chair, with sprung seat and stuffed back panel, the cabriole front legs with scrolled feet on pads and heavy mouldings on front seat rail, the back of elongated cartouche or balloon shape with carved wood frame. The seat low and upholstered like the back in Berlin woolwork.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1845 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Walnut, upholstered with Berlin wool-work and wool velvet

Dimensions

Height: 96 cm, Width: 48 cm, Depth: 61 cm

Descriptive line

mahogany, with covers of Berlin woolwork; English c.1845

Labels and date

Chair
About 1845

England

Walnut, carved
Upholstery (original): under upholstery with copper-coated steel springs (with some replaced webbing), with Berlin woolwork and wool velvet top cover

Given by Lady Evans
Museum no. W.93-1921

Sprung upholstery developed during the 1820s when the manufacture of iron springs became cheaper. The coil springs increased the depth and resilience of the seat. They also reduced the quantity of horsehair needed, although a layer of stitched horsehair stuffing was still used above the springs. Here, six coil springs were stitched to the webbing and compressed under a tacked cover.
[01/12/2012]

Materials

Walnut; Wool (textile)

Techniques

Joining; Carving; Upholstering; Embroidering

Subjects depicted

Flowers

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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