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Fly chair
  • Fly chair
    Hardwick, Philip, born 1792 - died 1870
  • Enlarge image

Fly chair

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1834-1835 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hardwick, Philip, born 1792 - died 1870 (designer)
    W. & C. Wilkinson (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Beech, carved, painted and gilded; modern upholstery

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries, case 16 []

Object Type
This light chair is one of a set of 18 made for a drawing room. It was designed to be easily moved around a table or grouped with other large chairs and a sofa.

The chair comes from the Court Drawing Room at Goldsmiths' Hall, London. The room, which was intended for use by female guests, was originally decorated in a red, white and gold scheme. It had patterned crimson satin curtains and wall hangings bordered by gold and white mouldings. The seat furniture, which was covered with crimson silk damask, included three window seats, two sofas, four large armchairs and eight small chairs, as well as the fly chairs.

Materials & Making
W. & C. Wilkinson, upholsterers and decorators, were chosen by the Goldsmiths' Company to supply the furniture. Their detailed specification of 1834 shows that initially the Company was offered alternative finishes for the furniture: carved rosewood with French polish, or painted and gilt beech, both with crimson damask upholstery. The slightly cheaper option of a painted and gilded finish was chosen. Wilkinsons provided scale drawings of the furniture designs, which were then approved by Philip Hardwick, the architect in charge of the project, and passed to the individual carver. The fly chairs were ready in 1835, at a cost of £23 14s each.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1834-1835 (made)


Hardwick, Philip, born 1792 - died 1870 (designer)
W. & C. Wilkinson (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Beech, carved, painted and gilded; modern upholstery


Height: 83.6 cm, Width: 40.6 cm, Depth: 43.2 cm

Object history note

Made for the Court Drawing Room, Goldsmiths' Hall. Fly chairs were small and easily moveable. The design is loosely based on French chairs of the 1750s, with curving 'cabriole' legs. The strongly coloured silk, contrasting with the white and gold woodwork, was also a French feature.

Labels and date

ENGLISH; about 1834
Beech, carved, painted, and gilt.

Designed and made by Phillip Hardwick of W. & C. Wilkinson for the Court Drawing room at the Goldsmith's Hall, London, 1834. [pre October 2000]


Furniture; Woodwork; British Galleries


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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