A very fine and elegant set of eight mahogany ‘Klismos’ dining chairs of the Regency period, attributable to Gillows of Lancaster and London,
England, circa 1810.
Why we like them
These distinctive, super smart reeded swag-backs definitely lend these very chic chairs some swagger. It is a particularly rare feature, especially combined with such boldly curved sabre legs both to the front and back. Just the right amount of age to their [apparently original] Morocco leather upholstery and beautifully faded, high quality mahogany contribute to their most authentic, country-house look, which one would have come across at Christopher Gibbs’ Chelsea Alladin’s cave.
The design of these chairs derives from the ancient Greek ‘Klismos’ chair, having distinctively curved front and back legs. The design of the chair-back, with its reeded drapery swag relates to that of an 1804 ‘Drawing Room Chair’ pattern illustrated in Thomas Sheraton’s, The Cabinet-Maker, Upholsterer, and General Artist’s Encyclopaedia, London, 1803-1806, pl. 1. The same pattern was adapted for the dining chairs supplied to the 2nd Earl Talbot (d. 1849), supposedly by the London firm of Marsh and Tatham, around 1808.
Seat rails stamped TB, very likely, by Thomas Bradley, whose stamp appears on a set of chairs supplied by the Gillows firm to Thomas John Wynn (d. 1832), 2nd Barn Newborough, of Glynillifon, Caernarvonshire, Wales, in 1823, sold by Christie’s, London, 9th March 2000, lot 104 (Susan E. Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840, p.221). Thomas Bradley was apprenticed to Isaac Greenwood cabinetmaker of Lancaster in 1790, and became a Lancaster freeman in 1799-1800. Like so many men employed by Gillows, he was apprenticed in Lancaster before working in the Oxford Street shop occasionally.
For another nearly identical set with the same distinctive scroll carving to the sides, see Christie’s, New York, 11 December 2018, lot 386.
A set of chairs attributed to Gillows and similarly stamped TB was sold by Christie’s, London, 17 November 2016, lot 9.