High-back walnut side chair with caned seat and back.

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High-back walnut side chair with caned seat and back.




High-back walnut side chair with caned seat and back, with cabriole front legs.

Full Description

This walnut side chair has a tall back with an elaborately carved and pierced arched crest with a central shell flanked by scrolls. The crest is fitted to the tops of the back posts which are moulded and joined by a lower rail, carved with an inverted shell and scrolls matching the crest. The back is caned. The seat rails, which are square-section and without decoration, are joined into the back posts and front legs, enclosing a tapered caned seat. The tops of the front legs are squared blocks with a turned roundel on the upper ends; the lower parts are cabriole with foliate carving on the knees and moulded edges, terminating in scrolled-over feet, also foliate carved. The back legs are raked, and are inverted baluster-turned with a reel, above squared and flared heels. The flat stretchers are H-formed, those at the sides are moulded, serpentine and taper towards the back, and the cross stretcher, set a short way back from the front legs, is similar and is carved with a shell in the centre.

This form of chair, with a moulded back forming the frame to the caning, was introduced from around 1715. It was a simpler, less ornate style, replacing the turned banister posts and carved panels of high-back caned chairs dating from c.1700-1715. Gradually the carved crest rails and stretchers would also be replaced by simpler forms by around 1720, and the backs would be lower. Cabriole legs became a feature of English chairs from around 1715, when they were generally referred to as ‘French feet’ since this was where they appear to have originated, and were most probably a refinement of the earlier ‘horsebone’ leg (Bowett, 2009).

This particular chair has been extensively repaired, probably during the 19th century when there was a revival of interest in early 18th century furniture. Old chairs were restored, and it was often the case that new chairs were fabricated using some original parts, in order to make up matching sets. The turned backs legs seen here are a particularly unusual feature, not original to the chair. The seat rails are also of a type seen on chairs dated between 1660 and 1700, and are out of place here.


There are metal brackets supporting the crest rail.
The right back post has been repaired.
Part of the shell carving in the back rail has broken off.
The right and possibly the left back leg are replaced below the seat.
All leg joints below the seat are reinforced with metal brackets.
All the stretcher joints are reinforced with metal brackets.
The cane in the back has been replaced.
All the seat rails are replaced and the caning renewed.



Physical Dimensions

H. 124
W. 52
D. 53


Chisel mark under the stretcher, IIIV.

Parker Numbers

OM 5697.


Purchased by Frederick Parker & Sons, December 1919 for £19.10.0


Adam Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture,1715-1740, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2009, pp. 150-5.
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