11576 – A RARE SOLID CUBAN MAHOGANY ARMCHAIR, THE BACK IN THE FORM OF A PAPER SCROLL

11576 A RARE SOLID CUBAN MAHOGANY ARMCHAIR, THE BACK IN THE FORM OF A PAPER SCROLL English. Circa 1740. Measurements: Height: 37 1/4″ (94.6 cm) Width: 24 3/4″ (62.8 cm) Depth: 21 1/4″ (53.9 cm).



Research
Of solid mahogany, the solid back with waisted lower section in the form of a paper scroll from which issue shaped armrests resting on volute supports. The solid mouchette mahogany saddle seat with ovolo molded edge above a plain frieze. The front cabriole legs carved with stylized shells to the knees and terminating in a pad foot. The rear legs of saber form. Two small scrolls at the top of each front leg replaced.

In the early 18th century, the hoop-back chairs which had been popular from the last years of William III through the reign of George I ceased to be fashionable and, after about 1720, “in an endeavor to produce something new and effective, the taste arose for sweeping the ends of the top rails of chairs in bold spiral whorls or paper-scrolls.”1

The majority of these chairs were constructed in the Chippendale style, with pierced splats and uprights that scrolled over at the toprail, and sometimes the back seat rail. However, the present armchair is a rare and unusual example of the paper-scroll form, having a solid back with scrolls that run the length of its sides, rather than at the corners of the toprail. The lower half of the seat back resembles the waist (or C-bouts) of a violin, where the scroll motif is continued, as well as on the armrests, arm supports and ear-pieces of the shell-carved knees of the chair’s cabriole legs.

Footnotes:

  1. Cescinsky, Herbert. “English Chairs of the Paper-Scroll Period.” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Volume 39. Savile Publishing Company, 1921. 286.

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