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Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1680-1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved walnut with caned seat and back panels

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir Ernest and Lady Reney

  • Museum number:

    W.50-1927

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Sewerby Hall and Gardens, Bridlington

Caned chairs appeared in England soon after the Restoration of King Charles II, and quickly became popular, being cheaper, lighter and less prone to dust and pest than their upholstered equivalents. They were widely recorded in middle-class as well as noble house inventories well into the first half of the eighteenth century. Both the technique and the material (rattan cane or calamus rotang split into long narrow strips) came from Asia. The canes were imported in large quantities by the East India Company to London, where the production of caned furniture was concentrated. Caned chairs were also exported from London in large quantities, so much so that in France they were known as chaises d'anglaise, and in the German states as englische Stühle. They were often used with a light seat cushion. Unlike upholstered chairs, caned chairs seem to have been produced through a subdivision of piece-work labour by journeymen joiners, turners, caners and carvers, who seem often to have stamped their work with initials.

This example has had substantial restoration to the seat, and replacement caning.

This object is on loan to Sewerby Hall.

Physical description

Caned walnut armchair, with spiral turning, crowns and S-scrolls.

The back stiles with double-bine spiral turning, terminating in carved crowns set on blocks with low relief acanthus leaf carving on the front face. The back piece consists of crest rail, bottom rail and two inner stiles each carved with a crown between matching S-scrolls, with a single central muntin chip-carved with scrolling leaves and two narrow panels of caning. The arms with scrolls handles are deeply moulded and meet the back uprights in an up-sweep. The four seat rails (replacements) are rectangular in profile and scratch-carved with a diamone repeat pattern on their upper and outer surfaces.

The front legs are carved in a gentle S-scroll with leaf work on the front face, and are spiral turned above the seat. A mid-height front stretcher is carved with a crown between two S-scrolls. Between the legs runs an H-form stretcher with spiral turning (single bine in the centre, double bine on the sides) which meets the legs at squared blocks. A back stretcher of double bine spiral turning runs at mid-height.

Modifications
Seat and seat frame completely replaced. New caning to back. Large patches to scroll tips of arms.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1680-1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved walnut with caned seat and back panels

Marks and inscriptions

IK
Stamped upside down twice to top blocking of back right stile.

Dimensions

Height: 118 cm, Width: 58 cm, Depth: 70 cm

Object history note

Given by Sir Ernest and Lady Reney (RF 27/7637) 'The seat rail, front and centre stretchers have been renewed).'

Lent (RF 62/2400) to Smithills' Hall, Bolton 1962-2006

On this type of chair see Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, (Woodbridge, 2002), pp. 98-9

Descriptive line

Carved, turned and incised armchair with caned seat and back, English 1680-1700

Materials

Walnut; Cane

Techniques

Turning; Carving; Joining; Caning

Categories

Furniture; Woodwork

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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