Sunday, March 24, 2013

Her Majesty’s Furniture: Queen Charlotte’s Arm Chair, 1780

Arm Chair
James M. Brown
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Sir William Chambers’s, with the help of his assistant John Yenn, undertook the redecoration and modernization of the State Apartments at Windsor Castle for King George III and Queen Charlotte between 1778 and 1795. Sadly, this period of decorative history is, as described by the curators of the Royal Collection, “poorly documented and now largely forgotten.”

Whatever changed were made didn’t last long. In the first years of the nineteenth century, the apartments were redecorated again, largely erasing the work instigated by George III, by a renovation spearheaded by Sir Jeffry Wyatville in the 1820s and 1830s for George IV and William IV.

In 1778, Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, had installed a variety of new furnishings in the neo-classical style, possibly designed by Yenn. Among them were two armchairs and ten stools upholstered en suite, and finished in tri-colored gold. This is one of those chairs. It is inscribed on the calico beneath the embroidered covers with the name of the workman responsible for the upholstery, James M. Brown of Windsor, and the date, “21 July 1780.”

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