Thursday, June 20, 2013

Her Majesty’s Furniture: Prince Albert’s Stag Horn Sofa

Stag Horn Sofa, 1845
Presented to Prince Albert
The Royal Collection
An avid sportsman and hunter, Prince Albert had a taste for all things natural and liked to be surrounded by objects which reminded him of his outdoorsy passions. He also had a penchant for objects made from the very animals he hunted.

This taste is not too peculiar given Albert’s roots. Many Central European craftsmen incorporated natural horn into furnishings. In 1845, when Albert visited Coburg with Queen Victoria for the first time, he purchased several pieces of stag horn furniture and had them sent to England. This sofa was actually not purchased, but rather presented to Prince Albert as a gift. Constructed of stag horn and hoof, oak, pine and wool, this sofa once belonged to the Prince’s brother, Ernest.

The Queen didn’t mind her husband’s stylistic choices, but she preferred not to have them around all the time. I can see why, this sofa doesn’t look terribly comfortable. At Queen Victoria’s request, this piece and its companions were kept at Osborne House.

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