Pair of 18th Century George II Gothic Yew and Elm Windsor Armchairs, circa 1760

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Object Description

The Windsor chair at its most elaborate and fine, the Gothic Windsor of yew wood and elm, circa 1760. England. It is, without doubt, the most sophisticated and elegant of all Windsor chairs and can be described as quintessentially English country furniture.

They are the most exquisite and fine design of all Windsor chairs and it is also the rarest of all models. This form is also known as the ‘Chippendale’ of country seating and ‘Strawberry Hill’ design, after the Strawberry Hill House in London was remodelled by Horace Walpole (1717-1797) and featured windows with a distinctive gothic shape.

A similar Windsor Chair is illustrated on the cover of ‘Windsor Chairs’ by Micheal Harding Hill, where he describes “This style of Windsor has been considered for some time to be the pinnacle of Windsor chair design; it is more sought after than any other Windsor chair, and it is rare than any of the other styles.”

Object Literature

Further reading:
Perhaps most famously, a notably similar set of six Gothic Windsor chairs belonging to Peggy and David Rockerfella, sold at Christie’s, New York in 2018 for, $336,500 (approximately £247,616), acquired from Mallet, London in 1995.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York acquired a pair of Gothic Windsor armchairs in 2016 disclosing “Quintessentially English country furniture, this pair of Windsor armchairs (see also 2016.250) is a variant of the more traditional bow-back design. With its pointed arch-shaped back and openwork splats displaying Gothic tracery, these chairs beautifully reflect the Gothic taste which became fashionable in England in the middle of the 18th century.” Accession Number: 2016.234.
A similar chair, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum and illustrated in Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture, New York, 1968, pl. 157., is made from yew and mahogany. The period examples always incorporate yew, the prized timber for Windsor chairs. An identical yew chair
with an elm seat is illustrated in The English Regional Chair and is attributed to London/Thames Valley (Bernard D. Cotton, The English Regional Chair, Suffolk, 1990, p.47, fig. TV22). Windsor chairs likely derived their name from the town of Windsor, a distribution centre of furniture made in the Thames Valley.
Another nearly identical chair is illustrated in Michael Harding-Hall, Windsor Chairs, London, 2003, p. 22, a pair of very similar chairs are illustrated in D. Knell, English Country Furniture, Suffolk, 2000, p. 327, pl. 83, while another single example sold from The Collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, Christie’s, New York, 21 March 2015, lot 1159 ($43,750).
The English Regional Chair by Bernard D. Cotton.
Windsor Chairs by Michael Harding-Hill, Cover, Page: 22-23, 88, 85. an illustrated publication.

Object Condition

Wear consistent with age and use.

Object Details

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By appointment only.

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Dealer Location

Buscot Manor

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