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The Victoria & Albert Museum
So, let’s start with a throne of sorts—not English and not, technically a throne. Nevertheless, it’s an attractive chair and fits with the day’s theme.
Here, we see an armchair of mahogany with gilt-bronze mounts. The arm supports are designed as winged sphinxes. This chair is the work of the French furniture makers at Jacob Fréres and is stamped as such. It is stenciled underneath with the inventory marks of the Palais de Tuileries and the number 27463. The number refers to its removal to the Garde-Meuble in 1826 from the Chateau de St. Cloud.
In effect, we have a chair built in 1870 which someone has tried to give importance to by using the inventory numbers of an earlier chair built for Napoleon I. So, this is a con job along the lines of something Matt Bomer’s Neal Caffrey would have executed had White Collar been set in Nineteenth Century France. The forgery is quite clever and whoever did it took a great deal of time and effort to make it look convincing. Why? At this point, no one knows. It remains an attractive, if not poorly proportioned, mystery.