An important and rare early 19th century ebonised and parcel gilt armchair designed by George Smith, having flat outwards curved back with a carved Medusa head to the centre, flanked by raised C-scrolls and anthemion decoration above a spindle gallery, supported by leopard monopodium back and front legs, joined to double caned sides applied with four gilt stars below and apron under, decorated with raised ebonised spread wings and star motif and conforming stars applied to the front rail, with a squab cushion upholstered with red and gold Regency stripe fabric.
This extraordinary chair formed part of a set of ten chairs probably commissioned for Leigh Court, Somerset, and later moved to Forde Abbey. Today the whereabouts of only three are known, with the other two in Museum collections, one at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the other in the Brighton Pavilion, East Sussex.
George Smith, A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, London 1808, pl.56. ‘Exhibition of English Decorative Art at Landsdown House’, The Collector, London 1929, pl. XCV, no 513. Margaret Jourdain, Regency Furniture 1795-1820, London 1949, p.78, fig 34.
Ralph Edwards, A History of The English Chair, London 1950, pl.114/115.
Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, Vol. I, London 1954, p.309, fig 269-270. Clifford Musgrave, Regency Furniture 1800-1830, London 1970, pl. 42a.
Maurice Tomlin, English Furniture, London 1972, ill.158.
Frances Collard, Regency Furniture, London 1985, p.100.
Gervaise Jackson-Stops, The Treasure Houses of Britain, Yale 1986, p.591.
‘Country Life Magazine’, July 10th 1909, pp. 55-56.
Philip John Miles, Leigh Court, Somerset.
John William Miles, Forde Abbey, Dorset.
Private collection, New York.
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