The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Armchair
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • 1785 - 1790
  • Pinewood, carved and gilded, beechwood chassis frame, crimson-pink silk floral brocade and canvas
  • Object size: 107 x 68.3 x 59.5 cm
  • F244
  • Oval Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Armchair (fauteuil en gondole) of carved and gilt pinewood, horseshoe-shaped in plan and with carved back and side panels and a separate seat cushion. The upholstery is covered with crimson-pink silk floral brocade.
    The elaborate carving on the back and sides of this chair are of great quality, with flowers, horticultural implements, amorous emblems and musical instruments depicted in fine detail. The monogram 'MT' on the back may possibly be read as that of Marie-Thérèse de Savoie (1756-1805), comtesse d'Artois. A similar monogram, also in an oval, is carved on a painted and gilded stand in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made by J.-B.Vinceneux in 1773 for the comtesse d'Artois at Versailles, although the monogram on the chair is flanked by naturalistic lilies and not crowned with the princely crown as it is on the stand. The chair is of a later date, perhaps from the second half of the 1780s, and the angling of the back legs would support a date shortly before the Revolution. The emphasis on the carving of the back suggests that it was perhaps intended to be used at a writing-desk or, possibly, as a 'fauteuil de loge' in a theatre.
    The present brocade was bought second-hand and applied to the chair in 1959; it was conserved more recently with financial help from the Kensington and Chelsea Decorative and Fine Arts Society.