Oak backstool, or side chair, upholstered with leather covers.

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Oak backstool, or side chair, upholstered with leather covers.




Oak backstool, or side chair, bobbin-turned and upholstered with leather covers.

Full Description

This oak chair has a raked rectangular upholstered back with squared back posts; the back cushion and front faces of the posts are covered in leather secured with double rows of brass dome-headed nails. The seat is also rectangular and similarly upholstered and covered. The front legs are bobbin-turned with squared blocks at the joints, while the back legs are squared and continuous with the back posts. There is a reel and bobbin-turned front stretcher, with two squared side stretchers on either side and one at the back. The upholstery is modern and the leather covers have been aged or may be re-used.

This is a good copy of a 17th century backstool, probably made at the end of the 19th century. This is apparent in the clean-cut oak, with few signs of age or wear and tear. It was almost certainly made as a fake, intended to deceive, and since Frederick Parker paid 10 shillings for it in 1914 it may be assumed he believed this was a period chair. It has been taken for a period chair up to now, but on close examination there seems little doubt it is a copy. There is re-used timber in the back seat rail, which has part of a carved arch; using old timber in the making of fakes was common in the 19th century trade as a way of confusing customers.

A period chair of this style would be dated 1675-85, based in part by the shape of the back, being rectangular rather than square; from around 1680 the rectangular back became more square and by the end of the century the fashion was for increasingly tall backs.

For other backstools in the Frederick Parker Collection see FPF005, 008, 413 and 414; another example is in the Museum of the Home (illustrated in Bowett, 2002).


Back seat rail is re-used wood, with old tool marks.
The stretchers appear to be re-used wood; the front stretcher has woodworm and may be walnut.
20th century upholstery using old or aged leather



Physical Dimensions

H 83
W 48
D 45

Parker Numbers

OM 3305. 2399


Purchased by Frederick Parker & Sons in 1914, at a cost of 10 shillings.


Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, Antique Collectors Club, 2002, p. 80, Plate 3:22).
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