Friday, January 2, 2009

Chair #2

—Designer unknown

Cue the Masterpiece Theater trumpets! Over on the other side of the pond in the early 1800's, when mad King George III was going bonkers and was deemed unfit to rule, his son eagerly stepped in as his proxy—his Prince Regent. And so began the Regency period of England. It was the time sandwiched between the Georgian and Victorian eras of jolly old England. The English aristocracy reveled in the excesses of the day with fabulous architecture, literature and fashions. Oh those Brits. Think Shelley, Keats or Byron — or better yet — think of your favorite Jane Austen flick and you'll get a visual. In Sense and Sensibility, "Elizabeth welcomed Mr. Darcy inside and reluctantly offered him a seat on the giltwood armchair with the carved, ebonized owl arm supports." OK, I made that up. But this is the exactly the kind of chair that was around back then. It was fashionable to copy actual furniture from classical Rome, Egypt or Greece. So details such as winged griffins, lions heads, animal legs, or scrolled ends were popping up on furniture. 

This Regency period library chair was one of a pair offered through New York's Kentshire Galleries a few years back. Notice the scrolled top rails and saber legs? And those unusual carved owls are what make this chair extraordinary. For a hefty $160,000 you too could be seated upon history.

Pip pip, cheerio.

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