George II Gainsborough Library Armchair
- Item No.
Classical Chippendale design distinguishes this George II-period upholstered library chair
- This exquisite George II-period library chair is an exceptional example of early Georgian design
- This char was once part of the collection of renowned collector Benjamin F. Edwards III
- Called a Gainsborough chair, it is crafted of Cuban mahogany and upholstered in period tapestries
- Its design is marked by impeccable Neoclassical carving and a perfectly proportioned structure
- Circa 1745
- 28 1/4" wide x 30" deep x 37" high
28 1/4 Inches
The creative spirit of Thomas Chippendale is embodied in this exceptional, antique George II period library chair from the collection of Benjamin F. Edwards, III. Crafted of luxurious Cuban mahogany and upholstered in beautiful period gros and petit point needlework tapestries depicting crops and animals on a farm, this chair is also known as a Gainsborough chair for its resemblance to those seen in 18th-century paintings by Thomas Gainsborough. This chair is a study in skillful design. Its rectangular back and serpentine seat is supported dramatically by out-swept back legs, a design of perfect proportion and strength. Exceptional carving graces the front legs and arms, which are recessed to allow for the volume of an 18th-century lady's skirts. Set on scrolling front feet, this chair exemplifies the style put forth by architects and designers such as Chippendale, William Kent and Inigo Jones, whose Neoclassically-inspired work defined the Georgian period. In fact, motifs found in Greek and Roman antiquity such as the acanthus leaf and scroll were widely adopted not only by other architects and designers, but by painters, carvers, tapestry weavers and cabinetmakers, as well. Such an exceptional period, 18th-century chair is extremely rare and eagerly sought by collectors. Provenance: Collection of Benjamin F. Edwards IIIwith Jules L. Pass Antiques, Ltd. St. Louis, 1996 Circa 1745 28 1/4" wide x 30" deep x 37" high In 1754, Thomas Chippendale became the first cabinetmaker to publish a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director. It encompassed the three main furniture styles of the day-Gothic, Chinese, and Rococo, and included a wealth of designs for chairs, sofas, and beds, as well as smaller accoutrement. Immediately this publication was considered the "bible" of furniture design, and Chippendale was the first person to boast such a strong following that an entire style bears his name and not that of a monarch. Soon this modest craftsman counted among his distinguished list of clientele countless members of nobility and society figures including Catherine II of Russia and famed actor David Garrick. He also obtained substantial contracts with the noble houses of Carlton Towers, Nostell Priory, Harewood House, Burton Constable, Ayrshire and Kent, some of which still house many of his finest pieces in their private collections. Benjamin F. Edwards III, was the president of A. G. Edwards & Co., the St. Louis brokerage house founded in 1887 by his great-grandfather that he turned into the largest United States brokerage company based outside New York. His ancestor was the illustrious Albert Gallatin Edwards, a West Point graduate and son of an Illinois Governor and Senator; whose uncle became a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, hosting his wedding to Mary Todd. Known for his personable and open demeanor, which often led to answering his own phone even as chairman, Ben Edwards' zest for life was echoed by his passion for antiques. He and his wife Joan created a thoughtful and wide-ranging collection that included, but was certainly not limited to, 19th-century English furniture English silver and brass, Chinese Imari, Caucasian rugs and Delft porcelain. The Edwards were especially fond of collecting objects appropriate to their Georgian style house and upgrading purchases from earlier in their marriage, and Edwards frequently haunted Manhattan antique dealers between business meetings in New York. His initial enthusiasm for Georgian furniture developed into a special affinity for Georgian silver and decorative works, and for all the inter-relationships of form and decoration among these works of art.