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Armchair

Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1732 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Legs and seat frame of beech, pine and walnut, oil gilded, partially over a sanded ground; cover of green silk velvet, edged with metal-thread braid; structural upholstery of linen, linen webbing and horsehair

  • Credit Line:

    Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum for display at Houghton Hall

  • Museum number:

    W.49-2002

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Houghton Hall, Norfolk

This chair belongs to the large set commissioned by Sir Robert Walpole, England's first prime minister, for the State Apartment at Houghton Hall, Norfolk. The house was built between 1722 and 1735, and the State Apartment was furnished by about 1732. The seat furniture is carved naturalistically with lion's masks and legs, and gilded on a ground made gritty with sand. The covers are of green velvet, to match the State Bed designed by William Kent.

Although this set of chairs is very different in style from the suite in the Second State Apartment at Houghton (V&A Museum nos W.1-22-2002), it may be by the same maker, possibly Thomas Roberts junior, who is known to have worked for Walpole. The same rather distinctive striped ticking is used for the upholstery foundation.

On loan to Houghton Hall.

Physical description

Armchair, the back rectangular with rounded top corners, and arms, part upholstered, with ends carved with masks on carved supports; cabriole legs terminating in paw feet, the tops of the legs carved with lion masks, the deep seat rails curved in profile and carved in the centre front with a satyr mask and in the centre of the sides with shells, all flanked by scrolling foliage. Covered in green velvet.

This armchair has a fixed cover of lime-green velvet with metal-thread braid

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1732 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Legs and seat frame of beech, pine and walnut, oil gilded, partially over a sanded ground; cover of green silk velvet, edged with metal-thread braid; structural upholstery of linen, linen webbing and horsehair

Dimensions

Height: 90.2 cm maximum, Width: 74.5 cm approx., maximum, across arm-ends, Width: 69 cm across back swell of arms, Width: 67.2 cm at feet, Width: 57.5 cm of seat, Depth: 74.5 cm maximum, at feet, Depth: 55.2 cm along canted side of seat

Descriptive line

Armchair, carved and gilded walnut, with green velvet cover trimmed with metal-thread braid, Britain, ca. 1732

Production Note

Though very different in style from the burr-walnut and gilt chairs at Houghton, the use of the same ticking base cloth (collated between W.2-2002 and W.27-2002) suggests that they were made -- or at least upholstered -- in the same workshop, and quite close to each other in date. The burr-walnut and gilt suite has been attributed to Thomas Roberts junior, on the strength of his single surviving bill to Robert Walpole of c. 1729, which mainly relates to furniture supplied for Walpole's London houses (but which includes the supply of caffoy for the Saloon at Houghton). The difference in style is probably explicable in terms of the burr-walnut and gilt suite being made to suit the pre-existing embroidered bed; and in the present state of knowledge it seems reasonable to suppose that both suites were manufactured and upholstered entirely in one workshop, most likely that of Thomas Roberts junior.

Techniques

Carving

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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