Walnut side chair with caned seat and double panelled caned back.

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Identifier

FPF013

Title

Walnut side chair with caned seat and double panelled caned back.

Date

1675-1690

Description

Walnut side chair carved with leaves and flowers, double panelled caned back and caned seat.

Full Description

This walnut side chair has back panels and front stretcher all elaborately carved and pierced with leaves and flowers. The back posts are twist-turned with squared and carved blocks at the joints, and have turned and carved acorn finials. The back is raked from the seat up and has two panels of canework. The slightly tapered seat has foliate carved square-section rails and is caned. The rails are tenoned into the front legs, which have pear-shaped turnings and squared blocks at the joints carved with a patera, and end in ball-turned feet. The back legs are of similar form. There are H-form turned stretchers with squared blocks at the joints; above these the front stretcher is a carved panel matching those in the back; and there is a turned back stretcher.

The form of carving on this chair was described in contemporary accounts as ‘cutt’ or ‘wrought with ‘scrowles’ and was introduced in around 1675 (Bowett 2002). Twist-turning was by this time frequently used by London joiners as an embellishment for furniture and stair banisters, having been introduced in around 1670. Walnut had become the preferred timber for quality furniture, replacing oak. In this chair the canework is what was referred to as ‘fine’, meaning the cane is split very thinly and woven through closely spaced holes, resulting in a fine mesh. It required more skill and more time and was therefore more expensive. Here, the cane in the back panels appears original, while that in the seat has been replaced.

This is a good example of its type, with few repairs and restorations. The different parts of these chairs were batch-produced by specialist turners, carvers and others, brought together by a joiner and passed to the basket-maker for caning. The workmanship shows great skill but little finesse; no time was wasted on work which would not be seen or was not essential. Chairs like this were aimed at the middling classes and their prices had to be competitive (Dewing, 2008).

Condition

The chair is in good original condition, with original cane in the back.
Replaced caning to seat.
Repairs particularly to the top and lower panels in the back.
Old woodworm damage in the front seat rail.

Materials

Walnut.
Cane.

Physical Dimensions

H. 117
W. 51
D. 53

Parker Numbers

Marked 13/4614.
3031.

Provenance

Purchased by Frederick Parker & Sons, February 15th 1919, for £9.0.0 from Warings.

Notes

Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714, From Charles II to Queen Anne, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2002, pp. 88-91.
David Dewing, Cane Chairs, Their Manufacture and Use in London, 1670-1730, Regional Furniture, Vol XXII, 2008.
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