Saturday, October 5, 2013

Her Majesty's Furniture: A Chinoiserie Settee, 1760-1770

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England, 1760-1770
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the mid-Eighteenth Century, wealthy English homes often featured pieces of furniture in the popular Chinoiserie style which was, at the time, associated with the work of famed cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale. Though Chippendale championed Chinoiserie, furniture in the delicate style was produced by a variety of furniture designers and makers. Chinoiserie saw a revival in the Nineteenth Century during which, between 1850 and 1900, a host of newer pieces were created using Eighteenth Century designs as models.

The piece pictured above, a settee, is likely to have been built during the earliest rise of the Chinoiserie look, perhaps sometime between 1760 and 1770. Since this settee has been made in one of the more prolific designs of the Nineteenth Century, some historians suggest that it’s a later piece. However, the carving and construction all point to Eighteenth Century creation.

The two-chair-back settee is made of carved mahogany, and features open arms and an upholstered seat raised on six square legs. The two raked chair backs boast one wide and two narrow panels of open fretwork which are framed by moderately splayed back stiles and a top rail carved with blind fret and a pierced pagoda cresting.

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