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Rare Antique Rosewood Corner Chair, Finely Carved, Aesthetic Movement c. 1880
This chair is a very fine and rather uncommon example of the unique works of the Aesthetic movement, where designers sought a return to individualized expression and hand craftsmanship during an age of mechanized furniture manufacture. In the same manner as lowback chairs of the 18th century, the crest rail is crafted in three parts, the arm rails on either side joined beneath the upper crest section; all three parts are joined from beneath with screws. Most attractive is the entire facade of this arm rail, the whole being carved out of solid rosewood with an intricate flow of Sunflowers amongst foliate surmounted by two facing butterflies. Typifying nature while not imitating it, the image is captured by knife with remarkable precision over a chip carved ground. The arms of solid rosewood wrap around the chair, terminating in recessed Sunflower handholds. The arrangement is found in works of Alexander Roux, Herter Brothers, Gillows and Gregory & Co. as well as some similar examples by the firm of Pottier Stymus - similar flower arrangements are often found both in marquetry and carved of the solid. The Butterfly, Daisy, Chrysanthemum, Sunflower and Anthemion motifs dominate the period, heavily borrowed from Japanism and the flood of importations from the Orient during the period.
The back of the rail is formed of two bent splats between each post, these splats laminated with rosewood veneers on the outmost edges; the face of the splats are carved with a somewhat imaginary honeysuckle and anthemion over the chip carved ground. The posts are finely turned solid rosewood with scratched channels, terminating at the end in a turned ring-and-ball arrangement. A woven tweed linen in outstanding condition covers the chair comfortably.
The result is highly accomplished, a work that in every way exemplifies the sentiments of the Aesthetic Movement. For the serious collector of fine antique furniture, this important evolution in the life cycle of the corner chair is an inspiring work of art that must be preserved for future generations.
Measurements: 25 1/2" wide x 25 1/2” deep x 28 1/4" high to crest; 16-17" high to seat
Condition Report: Upholstery in excellent condition. Old cracks, repairs to the crest rail, cracks along arm rail and where post joins rail. Chip to back of arm rail on right side and other scattered chips/losses to carvings, abrasions to the legs and stretchers; some veneer losses and separations to back of curved slats. Overall, very comfortable and strong for regular use.
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