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  • Place of origin:

    London (possibly, made)
    Kingston upon Thames (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1786-1794 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pratt Mr (maker)
    Charles Smith & Co (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Turned, carved and painted beech, imitating bamboo, the seat filled with painted rush

  • Credit Line:

    Acquired through the generosity of H.E.Trevor, Esq., with the co-operation of some admirers of David Garrick

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Fashion, Room 40, case CA 1

This chair is one of five from a villa at Hampton, on the River Thames to the west of London. In the 1700s the villa belonged to the famous actor David Garrick and his wife. From about 1768 they commissioned furnishings from the well-known firm of Thomas Chippendale of St Martin’s Lane in London. Chippendale provided light, pretty, painted furniture, suited to a house that was designed for leisure and entertaining. An inventory made in 1779 recorded ‘six rush bottom Bamboo Chairs’ in the drawing room. Although these chairs match that description, they were probably made slightly later. In 1786 and again in 1794 the widowed Mrs Garrick bought more chairs like this from at least two different suppliers

Physical description

Chair of turned, carved and painted beechwood, simulating bamboo, the back of interlaced uprights forming Gothic arches; the seat upholstered with rush and painted

Place of Origin

London (possibly, made)
Kingston upon Thames (possibly, made)


1786-1794 (made)


Pratt Mr (maker)
Charles Smith & Co (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Turned, carved and painted beech, imitating bamboo, the seat filled with painted rush


Height: 94 cm, Width: 51.5 cm, Depth: 49 cm

Object history note

These chairs (W.25-29-1917) are related to the furniture supplied by Thomas Chippendale to David Garrick and his wife between 1768 and 1778 and for many years it was assumed that they came from Chippendale's workshop. However, in January-July 1786 Mr and Mrs Garrick were commissioning furniture from Charles Smith & Co., of Lower Grosvenor Street, London, including a set of six japanned chairs with rush seats, at a cost of £3.18s. In 1794, Mrs Garrick also bought '6 Neat Cottage Chairs with rush seats, moulded japann'd Bamboo' at a cost of 10/- each.

Descriptive line

Chair of turned and carved beechwood, japanned to imitate bamboo, with upholstery of painted rush

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

Elizabeth White, ''Polished Perches: The Evidence for English Painted Wooden Furniture in Eighteenth-Century Gardens', in Painted Wood: History and Conservation. Proceedings of a Symposium organized by the Wooden Artifacts Group of the American Institute for Cosnervation of Historic and Artistic Works, Williamsburg, Virginia, November 1994, published by The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1998, pp. 128-142, this chair discussed on page 134 and in note 18.
John Boram, 'Eighteenth Century Fancy Chairs from High Wycombe', Regional Furniture XIII (1999), pp. 7-16, illustrates one of the chairs.
John Boram, 'The Domestic Context for Gillows' Rush- and Cane-Seated Chairs', Regional Furniture vol. XXIX (2015), pp. 47-100, mentioned on p. 57

Production Note

This set of chairs (W.25-29-1917) were traditionally attributed to Chippendale, with the rest of the suite of furniture for Garrick. However, Garrick's accounts show deliveries of rush-seated chairs from Charles Smith & Co. in 1786 and from Pratt's of Kingston in 1794




Turning; Carving; Painting; Rush-seating

Subjects depicted





Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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