We are no strangers to the social media trend to use ‘throwback Thursday’ and ‘flashback Friday’ – and we are happy to jump on the bandwagon to discuss a piece from our collection archive. We acquired a rare and very fine pair of George III mahogany side chairs, which featured exceptional quality carving of great depth and precision throughout and very fine colour.
The carved pierced back is closely inspired by Plate IX of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.
With the exception of the drop-in seats, the pair are almost identical to a set of twelve in the collection of the Dukes of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace. Percy Macquoid, in his 1938 publication The Age of Mahogany, describes the chairs as follows, ‘Here the uprights are deeply fluted, and terminate at the corners in scrolled acanthus with a fine backward twist, the tall C-scrolls of the splat forming part of the top rail and giving great strength to the design; the centre is occupied by a foliated upright supported by a double loop resting on a plinth, rococo in style, that forms the bottom of the splat; the legs are well carved and are of ordinary ball and claw pattern. Chippendale gives this exact design in his third edition, 1762, plate IX, fig.3’ (fig. 181).
The pair of chairs in our collection also had an interesting provenance, coming from the collection of the DuPont family in Delaware. Several of the DuPont family estates have now become museums and gardens open to the public. The Winterthur Museum is of particular interest for the study of American decorative arts with its impressive collection amassed by Henry Francis DuPont.