Archive for the chair Category

Good Shabbos Chair #14

Posted in 19th cent., chair, Herter, Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, White House on September 24, 2010 by babylonbaroque

It has  been some time since I last featured a chair. In my research for the various redecorations of the White House I stumbled upon this fantastic chair by the always wonderful Herter Bros.

One of a pair of “Ladies” Chairs, (this surviving Arthur’s house cleaning, see previous post) created for Mrs. Grant’s Red Room redecoration.

Herter Bros. N.Y. , N.Y.

ca. 1875

Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant

(Julie Dent Grant)

b. Jan. 26th 1826

d. Dec.14th 1902

Apparently Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant was a fun gal, enjoying her role as Hostess in Chief, she entertained regularly. In anticipation of her daughter Nellie’s marrieage to the Brit Algernon Sartoris in 1874, the house underwent extensive redecoration.

East Room ca. 1878

Her East Room redo made a great splash, influencing many a Gilded Age interior.

The lavish globe chandelier really is too much, in the best possible way.

As I said, the Herter chair was from a set of 13 in the Renaissance Revival style, 2  “Ladies”chairs as shown. Not sure if Arthur or Tiffany decided to not use the pair, but this one thankfully survives. Tiffany was instructed by President Arthur to reuse furnishing that were appropriate, Herter Bros. furnishings  was still fashionable I assume.

Red Room with chair visible

ca. 1870’s

I love this sort of post War interior, so lavishly optimistic.

We see the chair once again in 1889, either Cleveland’s first term, or Harrison’s .

Red Room ca. 1889

It really is such a handsome room, even with those ungodly “art” vases.

For a more modest version of the room, I conclude with this image from the Pierce administration.

Red Room ca. 1856

Terribly cozy, I find this so charming.

Well have a lovely weekend ,Good Shabbos !

Teutonic Splendor, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, and the Great Exhibition of 1851

Posted in 1851 Great Exhibition, 19th cent., chair, George Greig, Gothic Revival, Memento Mori, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, sideboards on June 18, 2010 by babylonbaroque

In continuing my mania for all things Teutonic, prompted by my Ring experience, I present this architectural wonder.

Last week I showcased a Gothic Revival chair, part of a set shown at the Great Exhibition of ’51. the set included a sideboard, the sideboard follows.Sideboard or buffet

ca. 1851

designer, Ferdinand Rothbart

makers, Thomas Hoffmeister and Thomas Behrens

carved oak and brown plush

place of origin, Coburg

acquired by the V&A in 1967

In addition to last weeks chair,shown below, and in last weeks post,

the sideboard was commissioned by the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, Albert’s neck of the woods. As I mentioned last week the chairs and this splendid sideboard,  described as “in the German-Gothic style of the middle ages”, were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

by G. Baxter

from Lane’s telescopic view of the ceremony of Her majesty opening the Great Exhibition of All Nations,

designed by Rawlins, London, August 15th 1851

It would have been difficult for the dashing and reform minded prince to resist the pieces. Aside from their great beauty and craftsmanship, his ties as a member of the house of Saxe-Coburg, and a childhood raised in Coburg , would have made the set irresistible. Typical of so much that I love about these ponderous 19th century sideboards, more like an entire Gothic city block, is that they are overwrought with a particular theme. In this case Germanic “Gothick”, and the ever present love the Germans have for the forest. Forest dwellers such as deer, boars, and a bear frolic about, unaware of the huntsmen with bugle and spears in hand. I’ve mentioned before my love of hunt themed sideboards, this one combined with a motif of rose windows, gothic arcades, a central shield and accented in brown plush, is just too wonderful to resist.

Good purchase your Majesty.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha

ca. 1842

b. 26th August 1819

d. 14th December 1861

by Franz Xavier Winterhalter

(He was a handsome devil.)

Initially intended for Balmoral, it and the chairs ended up as I mentioned last week in the Evening Drawing Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.

The sideboard and chairs, two of which are shown, are illustrated in a watercolor by George Greig  ca. 1863.

George Miller Grieg

artist to the Queen

The image is especially poignant as it is most likely a memento of the Queen’s loss. The Prince had just died and the two female figures are in deep mourning dresses.

The image is small but the sideboard and chairs are visible if you look closely.

On that happy note, Happy Father’s Day dear Prince.

Have a great weekend.

BTW, the watercolor, ” Palace of Holyroodhouse: the presence Chamber or Evening Drawing Room”, by George Greig, 1863, is part of the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wouldn’t want to offend the Queen.

Sabbath Chair week 13/Thomas Hope

Posted in 19th cent., chair, Regency, Regency Revival, Thomas Hope on May 30, 2010 by babylonbaroque

My Sabbath chair this week will honor the Christian sabbath.

The following is after a design by the eccentric Classicist  Thomas Hope. Designed in 1802, the height of Neo-Classical fashion, this chair wasn’t made until ’92.

It was well worth the wait.


ca.1807 designed

ca. 1892 made

Thomas Hope


Mahogany with brass inlay

made by Edwards and Roberts, london

Victoria & Albert collection

Based upon a design found in Hope’s classic Household Furniture, 1807, it reflects his distinctive understanding of ancient furnishings. Household Furniture is a must for anyone serious about the decorative arts. It is a dream tour through Hope’s home, collections, tastes and thinking.It is so much more then a folio of pretty furniture, it is a moment  and place captured in elegant line drawings reminiscent of the fashionable Flaxman.

This week’s featured chair has an especially handsome star and palmette decorative scheme rendered in inlaid brass.

I love the foppish Hope, wealthy (Hope diamond a family jewel, dirty pun intended), brash, and with marvelous broad taste. I love how he expressed Egyptian taste, as well as other ancient styles.

I will close with two images of Hope as one just isn’t enough for a man of such grandeur.

oil on canvas 1798

William Beechey (1753-1839)

National Portrait Gallery, London

You have to love a man who dolls up in costume a la Turk to have his portrait painted.

Just one more as the coloring is so much more vulgar, making me happy.

Have a wonderful weekend , take a moment to remember fallen soldiers throughout history.

Sabbath chair/Hunzinger, week 12

Posted in 19th cent., chair, Fashion-art, Huntington, Hunzinger, Renaissance Revival on May 8, 2010 by babylonbaroque

I have been mad for Hunzinger since I stumbled upon one of his screwball chairs at my beloved Huntington, close to home in beautiful Pasadena.

I frankly had never seen anything so peculiar, what was he doing with all of that “knobby” work, the chair appeared articulated, I had an intense desire to fold up the Renaissance Revival monstosity, stow it under my arm, and take the thing home.

Instead I present this monstrous beauty from the Brooklyn Museum.


George Jacob Hunzinger


born Germany


Ebonized wood, castors (always a sucker for castors),

original upholstery


approx. dimensions 43x26x28

The shredded yellow fabric is original, had been purple damask. Of course it was purple.

Another example of his wacky designs, this too looks like it should articulate, from the description, it doesn’t appear to. Some of Hunzinger’s designs do fold, perhaps it was an aesthetic he admired and pursued.

I love the machine made quality of the piece, although highly ornamented in the Renaissance Revival style, it still doesn’t hide the mechanical qualitiy of the chair. It calls to mind the current fad for Steam Punk, the hybrid expression of 19th century surface ornament with Industrial Revolution’s engineering. This chair shares that aesthetic, and I love it .

My Beloved dismisses it as a “failed experiment”, as in so often the case when it comes to taste, he is quite wrong.

I can’t resist sharing the first Hunzinger,snapped with my phone, as I mentioned it is held by the Huntington Museum.


walnut, gilding. brass, brocaded fabric


Good Shabbos

Modern Gothic corner chair, week 10

Posted in 19th cent., Aesthetic Movement, chair, Dresser, Eastlake, Modern Gothic on April 23, 2010 by babylonbaroque

This corner chair is a very good example of the Reformers influence on manufacturers and the products they peddled. The chair was produced by Kimbel & Cabus of New York.The Brooklyn Museum describes  the chair as in the Modern Gothic style. The references to the Aesthetic movement are apparent. Dresser an obvious influence as it is ebonized, but I see a closer link to Eastlake, the squat square construction, the decorative incising . What I find most interesting is the “tile” decoration. From what I can gather they are printed on paper. A charming, inexpensive way of adding visual interest. I plan to steal that idea.

Corner Chair

Kimbel & Cabus, 1863-1882

New York, New York

Ebonized wood, gilt-incised decoration, modern upholstery

approx. dimensions 28x19x19

Brooklyn Museum

One of the” tiles”, wee little mice,

the other, little birds, the Dresser reference very apparent.

So widespread was the Eastlake mania, many manufacturers created “Eastlake ” furniture. This advertisement from 1880, offers a Eastlake chair for 25 cents. The manufacturer Adams & Bishop Comp. of New York.

Good Shabbos

Good Shabbos Chair- the HoHo Bird

Posted in 19th cent., chair, Chippendale, Ho-Ho birds, Rococo Revival on April 16, 2010 by babylonbaroque

My love affair with all things Chinoiserie, particularly Thos. Chippendale’s spin on the fashion, and my unflagging passion for 19th century revival styles is fulfilled in this wildly inventive chair.

In the “Modern French style”, what we call Rococo Revival, this chair is reminiscent certainly of Belter and his odd foliate carvings, but it has a very apparent lineage to Chippendale.

Unmistakably Victorian, heavy, a little clunky, the C-scrolls  lack 18th cent. Rococo finesse, but the charm is apparent. Another successful 19th century play on period styles.

The magical HoHo bird proudly centered.

Side Chair

made in U.S.,possibly N.Y. or Philadelphia


maker unknown


approximate dimensions 46x18x24

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The HoHo has been a source of fascination for me since boyhood. He livened what I thought were essentially dull mirror designs. The Chippendale designs, available for my  boyhood viewing in the Philadelphia region seemed to be pretty chaste affairs. The really whimsical, wacky stuff didn’t seem to cross the Atlantic. The occasional HoHo bird tickled my fancy.

gilt mirror detail

HoHo console decoration

My own curiosity led me to understand the origin of this funny little bird. Most likely he is a phoenix, stylized of course for Western eyes; more like a long plumed swallow then the flaming raptor of immortality. In my research I discovered that the Japanese word for the bird,  he was imported from China, is Ho-o or Hou-ou. I am certainly not a scholar, but I would guess that to be the origin of the bird’s whimsical name.

Phoenix, image from Imari Porcelain ware

Nihom Toji Taikei magazine, vol. 19

One of a pair

Heian Era, 11 cent.

Amida Hall, Kyoto

typically a male and female face one another, this is often true of Chipprndale designs, as the bed below illustrates.

This is the fanciful design I would have loved seeing as a boy. That chilly Philadelphian Chippendale did not inspire.

My tastes have evolved, but I love the theatricality of this type of design.

I close with my own modest example of the ho-ho bird. I painted this on a Beverly Hills dining ceiling. It is a charming dining room for a charming lady who also shares my love of Ho-Ho birds, I painted as many as I could fit into the design.

Have a great weekend and good shabbos.

Good Gothic Revival Shabbos,( a little late), week 8

Posted in 19th cent., 20th century, chair, Gothic Revival, Uncategorized on April 10, 2010 by babylonbaroque

Crazy hectic schedule and tax time to boot!

My mania for all things Gothic Revival inspires this weeks offering.

Both revival chairs are from the holdings of my hometown museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, both spins on the Gothic, both wonderful.

Gothic Revival Chair

Robert Venturi, born 1925

designed 1979-84,made in U.S. 1984

Bent laminated wood and painted plastic laminate

approx. 41x20x23

This chair in it’s cheery camouflage has been a favorite of mine since youth, it is made by Knoll, and may be one of the few chairs I present that I have an actual chance of owning.

Side Chair

Maker Unknown 1850-70

possibly Philadelphia or New York

Rosewood, rosewood veneer, ash, yellow poplar,cherrywood;brass approx. 46x18x23

A complicated composition in lumber for a pretty conventional side chair. I of course love it, crave it, would upholster it in Venturi pink, but it is a bit dull. I understand the Bloomsbury reaction to all of that stuffy furniture. But again, I wish I had inherited a stash of this horse haired stuff!

Have a great weekend

Good Shabbos chair, kinda, sorta, week 6

Posted in 1851 Great Exhibition, 19th cent., chair, overfussy tastes on March 31, 2010 by babylonbaroque

As it has been a mad mad week, and ending early as I need to spend Easter with family, I am doing a lazy man post for my Shabbos post. My EARLY shabbos, pre Easter post.

Instead of pretentious musing, how about some pretty pictures of chairs.

Unidentified (save for the State Chair from the 1851 Exhibition) and beautiful.

I will be shopping for new seating shortly, unfortunately my depleted budget allows for IKEA, I don’t remember an assemble your own State chair.

Wishing all a Good Pasach, Good Shabbos, and a Happy Easter.

Good night.

Good Shabbos chair, week 5

Posted in Aesthetic Movement, chair, Chas. Tisch, furniture on March 26, 2010 by babylonbaroque

My thoughts this week have been of home, I am currently taking a U.S. History course, and my beloved Philadelphia continues to pop up.

When I think of Philly, Federal architecture of course comes to mind, but I also recall the wondrous beauties of the American Aesthetic/Queen Anne movement.If you wander along Pine or any little side street  behind Rittenhouse Square you will stumble upon jawdroppers. The Centennial influenced much of this nostalgic architecture, but I imagine fashion, fashion from our Mother country, Great Britain held greater influence.

With that said I present this broken pedimented beauty by Charles Tisch

Side Chair

Charles Tisch,  active 1870-90

Rosewood, misc. woods, brass, silk upholstery

Possible Place Made, NY, NY

ca. 1885

approx. 39x23x20

Brooklyn Museum

I love this period, it’s rigid interpretation of Queen Anne, the ebonized Aesthetic Movement influence. This is a very American spin on the Aesthetic Movement, it lacks the grace of Godwin, but what it lacks in poetry it compensates with comfortable proportions.

There is a vulgarity to the chair, but of course that is what draws me to it.

A really wonderful book exploring both English and American versions of the Queen Anne Movement is “Sweetness and Light, the Queen Anne Movement 1860-1890”, by Mark Girouard, published by Yale Press. It is a marvelous resource.

Well, I must return to my studies, curious as to how this Revolution thing turns out.

Good Shabbos

Good Shabbos chair, week 4

Posted in 19th cent., bergere, chair, Egyptian Revival, furniture, P.E. Guerin on March 19, 2010 by babylonbaroque

This frankly forlorn looking Egyptian Revival bergere may seem an unlikely candidate for a Shabbos chair, but I am a sucker for faded beauty.


Pottier & Stymus


mounts, Guerin, New York

Rosewood,burl walnut, gilt, and patinated metal mounts, original upholstery

ca. 1870

approximate dimensions:38x30x29

Brooklyn Museum

This chair, also manufactured by Pottier & Stymus(last weeks Neo-Grec by P&S) has mounts made by (P.E.)Guerin, and original uphostery. The Brooklyn Museum, seeing the value of the original covering is treating it as an upholstery document. It is worthy of such archival care. The unfigured green silk is to compensate for losses. The green silk damask is original (cleaned in place if you were concerned). The trim is modern but era appropriate.

I wish I had access to the mounts, P.E. Guerin and their wonderful workshop on Jane St. is a wonder. I am so happy there is still room for the quality and beauty they offer.

In keeping with the Egyptomania theme, I close with this sweet image of baby Moses and his adoptive parent.

Good Shabbos