An Queen Anne/James I walnut miniature armchair
Lot 7
A Queen Anne walnut miniature 'dolls' armchair
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 29,735) inc. premium
Lot Details
A Queen Anne walnut miniature 'dolls' armchair
The pierced caned panel back surmounted by a pierced foliate and C-scroll cresting and flanked by stop-fluted tapered uprights, the moulded arms with scroll terminals and moulded octagonal bulbous lobed and turned supports, on a caned seat with a later velvet squab cushion, on similar bulbous and panelled block carved legs joined by a pierced moulded and C-scroll stretcher and with ring turned stretchers to the side and reverse, on bulbous carved feet, with chair makers initials stamped to the reverse 'L.M' and with 'D.D' stamped twice to the base of one upright, 26cm wide, 22cm deep, 54cm high (10" wide, 8.5" deep, 21" high).

Footnotes

  • Chairs of this small scale and period are extremely rare. Although often cited erroneously as 'apprentice pieces', the existence of two beech armchairs of this scale in The V&A Museum collection, with their accompanying late 18th century wooden dolls, makes the case for these 'miniature chairs' being intended for use as 'toys' all the more likely. The V&A examples (T.846Y-1974 and T.846V-1974) which accompany the celebrated Lord and Lady Clapham dolls (circa 1690-1700) follow the pattern of full sized chairs of the period. The chairs would almost certainly have been made by a professional chair maker and the construction techniques mirror those found on full sized examples from the period. The scarcity of surviving late 17th century dolls, although many were produced, may well reflect the few surviving miniature chairs. Other surviving period miniature chairs, including one of the 'Clapham' chairs are in poor condition implying the likelihood of them having been played with and hence the few surviving examples.

    The Lord and Lady Clapham dolls are thought to have belonged to the Cockerell family who were descendants of Samuel Pepys. Pepys' nephew John Jackson married a Cockerell and the dolls were named 'Lord' and 'Lady' of the family home in Clapham. The remarkable condition of the Clapham dolls suggests that in this instance they may have been admired by adults rather than being played with by children and were viewed more as decoration for the home.

    A damaged late 17th century walnut and caned miniature armchair formerly in the collection of Roger Warner was exhibited Sotheby's London, 2-27 January 1988,no.33 and later sold Christie's London, The Roger Warner Collection - Part 1, 20-21 January 2009, lot 201.

Saleroom notices

  • Provenance: Private Collection. By decent through the vendors maternal family since the 19th Century.
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