Walnut Armchair

4 ft. 3J ins. floor to top of back. 2 ft. 2 ins. across front of seat. The pierced cup-turning of 1695.

the front legs, and their prolongations as arm-balusters, the sweeping and foliating of the arms, and the form of the back with its cresting and balusters, all show a skill and creative ability of a high order. Of the chairs which bridge the Stuart and the Orange periods, Figs. 324 and 325 may be given as examples, although neither of the two is in its complete and original state. The first has the long fluted and reeded back balusters as in Fig. 322, with a similar Flemish curved front leg and Spanish type of stretcher, with an additional flat swept rail, set back from the front legs between the cross-rails which tie the front and back legs together. The caning of the back has been replaced by upholstery, and the framing of the panel itself appears to be a later addition. The same fate has overtaken the arm-chair from Bond's Hospital, the back framing and its caning being later, and unfortunate additions. The turning of the front legs and the arm balusters show the beginning of the inverted cup-form which became so popular during the early Orange years. The original caned seat here has been replaced by a flat board. The familiar C-scroll has been employed in the decoration of the Spanish hooped stretcher, and the flat Flemish serpentine form is also used, as in Fig. 322. There is the same influence evident in both, in spite of material differences in their design, and certain features which place Fig. 325 as the later of the two. Although of about the same date as Fig. 324, there is an absence of the Flemish coarse vigour in the scrolling of the arms or the cresting to the back. Fig. 326 is a typical Low-Country model of this period, unusual in having turned balusters above C-scrolled legs. This scrolling is also used, in a crude, but effective way, for the stretcher uniting] the front legs. The moulded seat rail is a subsequent application, fixed after the seat has been upholstered, a method of avoiding the use of fringe or braid which was frequently employed, especially with chairs where the back consisted of a solid upholstered panel, separately framed with mouldings to correspond.

The method of upholstering the backs of chairs in one panel, framed round with mouldings, is a French manner which was introduced shortly after 1690. The open arm-chair with padded seat and back, although rare, was not unknown in the later vears of

Fig. 342. BEECH PAINTED CHAIR.

(One of a pair.) The flat serpentine stretcher of 1695.

Viscount Rothermere.

the reign of Charles II.

Fi g. 327 is one of a set of six made for the State

Fig. 342. BEECH PAINTED CHAIR.

(One of a pair.) The flat serpentine stretcher of 1695.

Viscount Rothermere.

Bedroom at Glemham Hall, during the years from 1G70 to 1675, but they were exceptional chairs for this period. Covered with a fine crimson silk velvet, and tasselled fringes of yellow and brown, with frames painted a cream white, with tiny flowers, and the carving parcel-gilt, they are extraordinarily fine examples of the art of the chairmaker of the later Restoration years: The front stretcher is in the ornate maimer of the period, carved with power and skill. The set was made to match the State Bed at Glemham, and it is significant as showing the mode of the time that such rich furniture was made for a bedroom.

The standard of comfort in the living rooms, even of the wealthy, and as late as the reign of Charles II, was exceedingly'meagre, compared with the furnishings of the next century-. It was only7 in the bedrooms of the larger houses that upholstered chairs and patterned carpets (either imported from the East, or made of coarse woolwork on a tambour frame in the fashion of gros-point needlework) were used, and even then they7 were exceptional. That at this period, as at all others, certain sybarites existed who were far in advance of their time, in refinement of ideas, unquestionable, but these ££ an cxln:ine minority. At Knole

  • p9 Park are several Persian carpets from the province of Ispahan, which were probably7 imported at this date, ^ the whole history7 of Persian carpet
  • jl weaving, the glory of these fine Ispahan

WR v , Ivy, j rugs of the sixteenth and seventeenth mr - -^Mg^^R^i, 1 nBi^tf centuries has never been surpassed, or

  • even equalled, for beauty of design and
  • quot;ffi] jewel-like quality7 of colouring. The mere pleasure of illustrating a priceless work of art may excuse the inclusion Fig 343 here of Figs. 328 and 329, one of these beech gilt chair. fine Ispahan carpets, probably of early7

The thermed leg and crested stretcher of 1695. sixteentll-cBltmy date, in general view

and detail, which may serve to show the floor coverings of this period which were available, and which were imported,—all too sparingly,— to enrich the important rooms in the large houses of such of the Restoration nobility as possessed the necessary taste to appreciate them.

As a general rule, however, both the domestic life and ideas of this time were crude and coarse, as we can gather from such literature as Wycherle} s plays, for example, which fully represented the fashionable ideas of their time. It was an age of bestiality rather than of viceas the latter term appears to convey some idea of a perverted refinement which w as almost entirely absent in the later Stuart years. That the plays of Wycherley,— which, with their unparalleled licentiousness, would not be tolerated, even in an expurgated form, on the English stage of the present day,—reflected the spirit of the time, is shown by the applause with which the} were received. Garrick, in the next century, attempted to Bowdlerise " The Country Wife," under the title of " The County Girl," and, although assisted by the acting of the famous Mrs. Jordan, failed in the endeavour to render a late Stuart play clean enough even for the not over-nice eighteenth century. Voltaire was equally unsuccessful with " The Plain Dealer," which he attempted to purify in "La Prude." Apart from the rank indecency of the dialogue, the ideas expressed are indescribably coarse. That Wycherley mirrored the aristocratic ideas of his age when he counselled the marrying of a widow, or peer's daughter, who must be young and handsome, and, above all, rich, and the spending of her fortune on loose women (the Court of Charles II abounded with such) and other debauchery, is unquestionable. That domestic refinement, in an age which had brought

Fig. 344. BEECH CHAIR, GILT.

(One of a pair.) 4 ft. 6 ins. floor to top of back. T ft. 6 ins. width across front of seat.

  1. 1695-1700.
  2. X. R. Colville, II.C.

Fig. 344. BEECH CHAIR, GILT.

(One of a pair.) 4 ft. 6 ins. floor to top of back. T ft. 6 ins. width across front of seat.

  1. 1695-1700.
  2. X. R. Colville, II.C.
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