Armchair thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 123

Armchair

1670-1700 (made), 1682 (dated), 1880-1910 (altered)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved and turned oak
Brief Description
Oak armchair
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."
Dimensions
  • Height: 1140cm
  • Width: 560cm
  • Depth: 610cm
  • Over cresting width: 610cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Seat dated 1682, with the initials A.C. and E.H. On the front uprights are the initials EP.
Gallery Label
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)
Object history
At one time at Thorp Hall, Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire. Originally made in Yorkshire
Production
At one time at Thorp Hall, Thorp Arch, West Yorkshire
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
W.91-1921

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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