Antique Furniture/What is this elaborate chair?
QUESTION: I've looked at dozens of books & websites and at least many hundreds of pictures without seeing anything like this. Any information you could venture as to wood, value etc would be great, but I'm most interested in just discovering what period/style of chair it might be.
In my family since 1950 at least, but I believe my mother got it from the previous generation, ca 1870-80. We called this "the Queen Anne Chair", but it doesn't resemble any picture of that (or anything else) that I've found. Almost certainly a reproduction: it's unlikely the style is from any period when the piece of wood used to make the seat would be stenciled underneath with olive drab "783". The carving crowning the back is workmanlike but nothing special.
Or that stencil might be an artifact of transatlantic shipping, but these Bohemian immigrants were mostly not the sort who would have brought any but the most precious furniture with them. To confuse the issue, this MIGHT be from my father's family, in which case it could date back to Revolutionary times.
ANSWER: chair was manufactured between 1900-1920s.
woods are birch and figured birch and mahogany veneer for the back.
It was manufactured in this country.
These were an adaptation of the curule and Savonarola style chairs and stools.
Very nice one that would retail in a store around 450-500 if it is sturdy.
style is not queen anne. many items, especially chairs, do not fit neatly into a prescribed catagory as they are a combination of many styles which have preceded them. the best is to call it colonial revival.
the number would have been a factory style or color or inventory number. the olive drab might have referred to a cushion fabric color.
please use the followup function and post a picture of the top and bottom of the seat.
hope this helps.
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QUESTION: Thank you. I had noticed (including from a recent question you answered) that Savonarola was the only style that even had this curved seat. A quick search shows curule (a new term to me) is maybe closer - but as you point out, "style" is often a fuzzy term. "2/23" among the scrawls under the seat may well mean just what you'd suppose.
I don't recall anyone but me & my little sister ever sitting in this, never longer than a minute or two, and for all its joinery the chair is rock solid. The (cherrywood? mahogany?) stain is worn in places, but hasn't a scratch or blemish on it.
The seat and back are both a laminate with ribbon stripe mahogany veneer as the faces or outer layers.
The style is very cool and dates back as far as the pyramids. In the mid to late 1700s and early 1800s some of these were made and designed by some of the highest echelon designers. yours is later as most are. Many in oak, many in birch and figured birch with mahogany stain. We dont often see 18th century ones.
the hand written writing on the underneath is most likely numbers of pieces made. Lots of folks do not realize that they would have had many workers turning out parts for hundreds of the same items.
the 2/23 could have been 2 of 23 parts for that chair. It could even be a date.