A high back silvered beech side chair with upholstered seat and back.

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A high back silvered beech side chair with upholstered seat and back.




A high-back turned and carved silvered beech side chair with upholstered seat and back.

Full Description

This high-back silvered and upholstered chair would have been part of an exceptional suite of furniture made for an aristocratic or royal household. The ornate carving and turning on the beech frame has been finished with gesso (fine plaster) to create a smooth surface for silver leaf. Although now in poor condition, this would have created a stunning display of wealth, enhanced by an expanse of high-quality upholstery and trimmings to the seat and back (only part of the webbing and base cloth of the original upholstery remain, the rest is likely to be late-19th or early-20th century). The back posts and legs are continuous, cut and shaped at an extreme angle to form the sloping back and steeply raked legs, and are of a type first documented in a bill from Thomas Roberts for the Royal Household in 1708, in which he described them as ‘Spreading back feet’ (Bowett, 2002). The front legs are of pillar form, turned and carved in a style which was first introduced in the 1690s, and are joined by an arched front stretcher carved with scrolls. There is also a turned H-stretcher and a further back stretcher, set slightly higher. The ends of these stretchers are turned at the joints with the legs.

Taken together, this is clearly a fine and important chair dating from 1710-20 and is a rare survival in its un-restored state. It should be compared with a replica, FPF 464, made for the Frederick Parker Collection in 2007 as a study piece to show both how the original chair was made and to give an impression of how it would have appeared when new.

Silvered furniture such as this chair was made during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, mainly for the Royal Court and the aristocracy (Beard, 1997).
A similar chair, probably with its original covering, is illustrated in the Dictionary of English Furniture (Edwards, 1954).


The chair frame is in good original condition, although the gesso and silver finish is damaged and tarnished.
Parts of the original upholstery survive, and the replaced cover is now in poor condition.



Physical Dimensions

H. 131
W. 66
D. 54

Parker Numbers

3674. 4397.


Purchased by Frederick Parker & Sons in 1914 from Millar (probably Cecil Millar) for £25.


Adam Bowett, English Furniture, 1660-1714, From Charles II to Queen Anne, Antiques Collectors Club, 2002, pp. 254-9.
Geoffrey Beard, Upholsterers and Interior Furnishing in England 1530-1840, Yale, 1997, pp. 124-5).
Ralph Edwards, Dictionary of English Furniture, 1954, Vol. I, p. 253, fig 81.
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