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Armchair

Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    West Yorkshire (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1670-1700 (made)
    1682 (dated)
    1880-1910 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and turned oak

  • Museum number:

    W.91-1921

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 123, case 5

Object Type
The overall shape of this chair is typical of chairs made in Yorkshire between 1600 and 1700. The elaborately carved cresting and panel in the back look original, but other parts appear to have been added later, such as the chair seat, the carved initials and the shallow carving around the seat rails. The chair was probably altered between 1880 and 1910. Antique dealers sold many such chairs at that time. They were often heavily repaired, with extra carving sometimes added for greater visual effect, and to increase their value.

Ownership & Use
The initials A.C. and E.M. on the seat and E.P. on the front uprights, and the date 1682, were probably added later to add interest and do not relate to real people. According to the person who sold it to the V&A, the chair was bought between 1910 and 1920 from a sale at Thorp Hall, Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire. The history of the chair before that time is unknown.

Materials & Making
The chair is made of oak. The seat is a replacement, and there are holes for an earlier strung seat on the seat rails. The front and back feet have been mended in a very crude way. This might have been done deliberately to increase the appearance of age, although it is impossible to prove.

Physical description

From: H. Clifford Smith, Catalogue of English Furniture & Woodwork
(London 1930), 520, Plate 8.
"Arm-Chair; the centre panel of the back is carved with conventional foliage; the tall cresting has double scrolls and foliage, partly in openwork, in the centre is a mask (supposed to represent the head of Charles I), and at either end carved 'ear-pieces'; the sides and lower rail of the back are also carved. The front uprights, formed of turned columns, are incised with the initials E P, and are united below by stretchers. The seat rails are carved in front and at the sides. In the centre of the seat are the initials A C; E H; and the date 1682.

From Thorpearch Hall, Yorkshire. Middle of the 17th century; the seat dated 1682.
from catalogue: H. 3 ft. 9 in., W. 1 ft. 10 in., D. 2 ft. (H. 114.3 cm, W. 55.9 cm, D. 61 cm)
The seat was originally upholstered. The present wooden seat, dated and inscribed, is probably some twenty years later than the chair."

Place of Origin

West Yorkshire (probably, made)

Date

1670-1700 (made)
1682 (dated)
1880-1910 (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved and turned oak

Marks and inscriptions

Seat dated 1682, with the initials A.C. and E.H. On the front uprights are the initials EP.

Dimensions

Height: 1140 cm, Width: 560 cm, Depth: 610 cm, Width: 610 cm over cresting

Object history note

At one time at Thorp Hall, Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire. Originally made in Yorkshire

Descriptive line

Oak armchair

Labels and date

British Galleries:
At first glance this appears to be an authentic 17th-century chair but is every bit of it what it seems? Most old furniture has been repaired at some time and we must distinguish between innocent repairs and the faker's intention to deceive. In the galleries, a series of labels allows you to examine parts of the chair in detail and see what is genuine and what is faked. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

At one time at Thorp Hall, Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire

Categories

Furniture; British Galleries

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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