A rare Elizabeth I carved oak panel back armchair Circa 1570, possibly Salisbury
Lot 58
A rare Elizabeth I carved oak panel back armchair Circa 1570, possibly Salisbury
Sold for £9,375 (US$ 15,604) inc. premium
Lot Details
A rare Elizabeth I carved oak panel back armchair
Circa 1570, possibly Salisbury
The back panel, with framed rebate, carved with a pair of griffins and arabesques, the arch-shaped cresting integral to the top rail carved with a prominent central null, flanked by single channel-run uprights, the steep downswept open arms raised on block and fluted baluster-carved front supports surmounted by bun finials, the shaped boarded seat above channel-moulded lozenge-carved and punch-decorated front and side rails identical to the rear horizontal rails, raised on conforming fluted baluster-turned front legs, joined by S-chain carved stretchers, 54cm wide x 51cm deep x 104cm high, (21" wide x 20" deep x 40.5" high)

Footnotes

  • The distinctive, steeply downswept open arms of this chair, mortised into the front block supports, rather than conventionally resting on top of them, are a highly unusual feature of this chair. As a result the front supports are finished with a bun finial; a satisfying ergonomic feature when seated.

    Two armchairs, attributed to the same workshop, one in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, with the identical arm configuration, are illustrated, T. Jellinek, Early British Chairs and Seats 1500 to 1700 (2009), pp. 92-93, pl. 86 & 87. See also V. Chinnery, Oak Furniture: The British Tradition (1993), pp. 254-255, figs. 3:54-3:60. The author notes that this small group of illustrated chairs, apart from portraying the same arm arrangement, 'have certain other characteristics in common' [ibid. p. 247]. Typically, this involves the use of marquetry and/or a Franco-Flemish influence in design. Although no marquetry decoration is to be found here, the influence of the French caqueteuse armchair is apparent in the Renaissance arabesque carving of the back panel and the canted sides of the seat.

    It may be possible to regionally attribute this type of armchair. Victor Chinnery writes 'it must seem likely that they originate from one locality (probably an urban centre in the West Country, such as Bristol)' [ibid., p. 247]. Salisbury is suggested here as a possible place of manufacture, not only for the caqueteuse influence, 'only Salisbury seems to have exhibited a consistent taste for this form of chair', [ibid. p. 245], but also the carved treatment of the rails and stretchers. The stretchers are carved with the signature Salisbury 'S' or chain design. A credence table, attributed to Salisbury, with similar carved stretchers, was sold in these rooms, January 2012, Lot 366. There is also a strong similarity to the lozenge decoration found on the credence table's lower frieze rails and the decoration found here on the back and seat rails.

Saleroom notices

  • Restorations and later elements. Condition report available upon request.
Auction information

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Contacts
  1. David Houlston
    Specialist - Oak Furniture
    Bonhams
    Work
    Banbury Road
    Oxford, United Kingdom OX5 1JH
    Work 01865 853667
    FaxFax: +44 1865 372 722
  2. Megan Wheeler
    Specialist - Oak Furniture
    Bonhams
    Work
    Banbury Road
    Oxford, United Kingdom OX5 1JH
    Work 01865 853668
    FaxFax: +44 1865 372 722
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