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Set of six superb Arts & Crafts dining chairs by Morris & Co circa 1905

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Seller: crewenna (168) 100%, Location: Camborne, Ships to: Free Local Pickup, Item: 152313069559 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE PRICE REDUCED! A really elegant set of six rush-seated dining chairs in mahogany, manufactured by Morris & Co circa 1905. The set consists of four side chairs and two carvers, in wonderful original condition, with delicate but extremely strong detailing, such as the lovely bobbin-turned side stretchers. Until recently these chairs were in daily use around our dining table, but when we moved house they became unsuitable for the new smaller dining area. They are remarkably strongly made, which is what you would expect from the William Morris factory, with no movement in the joints after more than a century. The design is not only extremely elegant, but the backward sweep of the legs means they cannot be easily rocked or tipped up – unlike so many inferior designs today.Please see the photographs ……… Dimensions: Side Chairs – overall height 92cm; seat height 44.5cm; seat depth 39.5cm; width 42.5cm; overall depth 50cmCarvers – overall height 98cm; seat height 44.5cm; seat depth 47cm; width 56cm; overall depth 57cm; arm height 68.5cmA few years ago (about 2011) I came across an online notice of sale with photographs showing an identical set of chairs, but they must have been stored in a barn as the rush seats had gone and the timber was grey, as if it had been exposed to the weather and lost its waxed finish. They had sold for £1,400. And early in 2014 a similar set was advertised for sale with a dealer, consisting of one carver and five chairs all with replacement drop in seats for £1,795! My research has shown that the chairs were designed in the offices of the architect/designer Richard Norman Shaw RA, possibly by Shaw himself or by his colleague William Lethaby. This design appeared in the William Morris and Co catalogue in 1905 as part of their rush seated range. This, and a very similar design, are often referred to as the ‘Hampton Court’ chair. In the UK two examples of this design may be seen at Standen House, a National Trust property in West Sussex. I have also seen examples in a national Trust property near Plymouth (but I can’t remember which house) where they were constructed from oak rather than mahogany. Frankly, they look much more refined in mahogany! The other similar design I mentioned has a more rounded finish with ‘curly’ supports for the arms of the carvers, but I have only seen these in American and Australian catalogues. This makes me think that this ‘curly-armed’ version was made primarily for the export market. LOCATION - Please Note: It may be possible for me to deliver these items to the Exeter or Bath/Bristol areas. Please contact me about this. Historical notes: Richard Norman Shaw was one of the great architects of his day. He designed large houses such as Cragside, Grim's Dyke, and Chigwell Hall, as well as a series of commercial buildings using a wide range of styles, many of which remain as features of the landscape in London and other cities. New Scotland Yard and the Tabard Inn in Chiswick are examples of his work. William Lethaby was also an architect/designer of considerable note and influence in the Arts and Crafts movement. He, too, left a legacy of fine buildings and in his lifetime had many important links to famous architects, artists and conservation organisations. (Check out the links to Shaw and Lethaby on Wikipedia.) When built in the 1870s, the Tabard Inn was furnished with chairs manufactured, it is thought, by Morris & Co or by William Birch Ltd of High Wycombe. The later ‘Hampton Court’ chairs bear strong resemblance to these ‘Tabard Inn’ chairs, and it is possible that Shaw or Lethaby were influenced by them in designing their chairs. The most notable feature of both designs is the shape of the back and top rail. This form originates from 17th century China and was given the name ‘India-back’, since the term ‘India’ was used as a general description for all parts of Asia. (Source: exhibit in The Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch, London E2) Product Type: Dining Chairs, Original/Reproduction: Original, Age: 1905-1910, Material: Mahogany

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