Pair of Unusual Mahogany Side Chairs

the yoke-shaped top-rail with tightly scrolled ends, above an elaborately pieced splat with punched horizontal broad ‘C’ scroll, the shaped drop-in seat above a waved apron, the slender cabriole front legs carved with acanthus leaves and ‘C’ scrolls with tight scrolling at the top, similar to that of the top-rail, and with claw and ball feet, the swept back legs chamfered on all four edges and joined by a turned stretcher. English or Irish, c. 1750.

Height of back  40¼"  (1,02m).

A closely related pair of chairs, previously in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago,(1) was sold at auction in New York in 2008 (see image opposite),(2) and an identical set of four chairs was sold in New York in 1978.(3)  The form of the splat is very unusual, loosely related to designs of c. 1745 by William de la Cour.(4)  It has been suggested that these chairs might have been made in the North of England, though the tight scrolling on the top-rail and on the ‘C’ scrolls on the legs relates to that seen on Irish furniture.


1)  Museum nos. 1970.1221A &1970.1221B. Sold from the Art Institute, Sotheby’s New York, European Works of Art, Tapestries and English Furniture, 26th-27th January 2000, lot 264 ($34,500).
2)  Sotheby’s New York, The Devenish Collection, 24th April 2008, lot 68 ($55,000).
3)  Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, October 21st 1978, lot 387.
4)  See Peter Ward-Jackson, English Furniture Designs of the Eighteenth Century, 1958, fig. 19.

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