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Armchair

Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Turned and carved beechwood and mahogany, painted brown; upholstery of woollen embroidery

  • Museum number:

    W.36-1919

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This chair was bought in 1919 as an illustration of the shield-shape backs that became fashionable for chairs in the late-18th century. At the time it was believed that the embroidered covers were original but it is now thought that they were added to the chair in the early 19th century, although the chair retains its original webbing and base cloth.

Physical description

Armchair in neo-classical style, with shield-shaped back and flued legs, of beechwood and mahogany, now painted dark brown, and upholstered in woollen needlework in a small design of ovals, in red and brown, the embroidery probably added to the chair in the early nineteenth century, although the chair retains its original webbing and base cloth.

Place of Origin

Britain (made)

Date

1775 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Turned and carved beechwood and mahogany, painted brown; upholstery of woollen embroidery

Dimensions

Height: 90.5 cm, Width: 59.7 cm, Depth: 67 cm

Object history note

Purchased in 1919 from Messrs M. Harris & Sons, 44 New Oxford Street, London WC1 for £14 (Nominal File MA/1/H857, Harris M. Sons). At the time it was thought that the needlework was original and that 'It is of good design and unlike any other chair already in the Museum'. At that time there was a move to collect a series of chairs to illustrate changed in style in English furniture. There appears to be no record of the earlier history of this chair.

Shown at Temple Newsam House, Leeds, 1973 in the exhibition The Golden Age of English Furniture Upholstery, 1660-1840, shown in the Stable Court Exhibition Galleries at Temple Newsam, 15 August - 15 September 1973. The exhibition drew on the work of Karin Walton, who was then working on a thesis on furniture upholstery as part of her MA course. This chair was cat. no. 26

In 1975 Peter Thornton authorised and inspection by an upholsterer (Carol Thomerson?) and it was discovered that underneath this cover there was a second set of tack holes and an earlier cover in cross-stitch, in bright turqoise blue, orange, yellow, olive green and red, possibly with areas of black (now decayed). Under this cover was a layer of striped ticking, a covering of feathers (duck down) and under this a layer of horsehair. This was set over a layer of hessian, under which was the first stuffing, which was of straw (presumably within a roll along the edge of the seat). The conservator noted that the hessian and the webbing looked old and original. This investigation was not pursued. Notes on departmental files.

Descriptive line

Armchair in neo-classical style, with shield-shaped back and flued legs, now painted dark brown and upholstered in woollen needlework in a small design of ovals, in red and brown, the embroidery probably added to the chair in the early nineteenth century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Golden Age of English Furniture Upholstery, 1660-1840, published by Leeds City Art Galleries, 1973. Catalogue of an exhibition shown in the Stable Court Exhibition Galleries at Temple Newsam, 15 August - 15 September 1973. The exhibition drew on the work of Karin Walton, who was then working on a thesis on furniture upholstery as part of her MA course. This chair was cat. no. 26. At that time the cover was clearly thought to be original

Maurice Tomlin, Catalogue of Adam Period Furniture, Victoria and Albert Museum. London: HMSO, 1982, cat. no.P/15

Materials

Beech; Mahogany

Techniques

Turning; Carving; Chair-making

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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