The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Armchair
  • Vitel (active between: 1838 - 1864)
  • France
  • c. 1850 - c. 1860
    1985 (covered with floral brocade velvet)
    1985 (covered with modern green mohair velvet)
  • Carved walnut, beech seat rails, green mohair velvet, green braid and fringe, steel springs and canvas lining.
  • Object size: 125 x 69.5 x 58 cm
  • Stamp: 'VITEL'
    Stamp: 'VITEL'
    Stamp: 'VITEL'
    Inscription: 'Entoilage' In italics
  • F35
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Further Reading
  • Pair to F36. Carved walnut armchairs (fauteuils) with beech seat rails, upholstered with modern stamped green mohair velvet. The back has an oval upholstered medallion framed by carved foliage between carved and turned uprights. The armchair frames have pierced carving of acanthus foliage combined with scrolls and are not carved at the back. The legs are carved as S-scrolls, their upper halves capped with acanthus.
    The good preservation of the frames and the coarseness of the carving suggest these are of nineteenth-century manufacture, and the stamp would confirm this. Vitel was not only a restorer but also a manufacturer of furniture, including Boulle-style furniture, seat furniture and carved chairs, and is recorded in Paris between 1838 and 1864. These chairs were probably made quite late in his career; twelve armchairs made by him in the Louis XIV style for the Château de Maintenon in c.1856 have similar arms. In other respects the Wallace Collection chairs are more Dutch in style than French. Their stretchers and legs are close in shape to those of a Dutch chair of c.1680 in the Musée de Cluny, and similar arms, arm supports, stretcher and front frieze are on an armchair of c.1700 in the Rijksmuseum.
    During the reupholstery of the chairs in 1985, a red silk fragment was found on the back of one, suggesting that the chairs were covered with red damask in 1871 as mentioned in the 5 rue Taitbout inventory. A green and yellow floral brocade velvet was then applied sometime between August 1871 and 1890, when both chairs were photographed with brocade velvet covers. In 1985 the green and yellow floral brocade velvet, edged with a green and yellow fringe, was replaced with the new green mohair velvet, with green braid and fringe.