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Mid 18th Century Italian Rococo Armchair in Walnut with Extravagantly Carved Head Rail #3017

Mid 18th Century Italian Rococo Armchair in Walnut with Extravagantly Carved Head Rail

Italian Circa 1760

This beautiful armchair is executed in walnut and, in its basic form, is highly influenced by the French designs of the Louis XV period which altered taste in Europe forever with their introduction of highly advanced rococo ornament. 

Unlike many of the French designs, however, the excesses of the rococo have been tamed and the form is sophisticated and sinuous whilst still being practical and symmetrical. The chair stands on four cabriole legs with beaded detailing to the centres and a panelled effect to the edges. The knees of the front legs feature finely carved cabochons. 

The seat rails are serpentine to the front and sides with carved foliate and shell ornament centering the front rail for maximum decorative impact with the arms of the chair are of a gently outscrolling design. The chair back has a double serpentine lower rail and serpentine uprights but it is the head rail where the carver's skill is most in evidence. Rocaille work scrolls are combined with a classical theatrical mask. It is therefore possible to say that this chair is quite theatrical, both figuratively and literally. 

Perhaps the use of the mask suggests that the original owner was in some way connected with acting of the theatre or perhaps they were simply a patron of the arts. Clearly this is a chair that was designed to make a visual impact in a room but in a restrained way-there are no gilt metal mounts or areas or painting or parcel gilding etc. This chair is the work of a fine carver and is a highly unusual model that was almost certainly the result of a bespoke commission.

The chair is ready for upholstery in the client's choice of fabric and is a highly sculptural piece which is sure to be a talking point in any interior.


Width 26 inches - 66cm

Height 43 inches - 109.5cm

Depth 25 inches - 63.5cm

Seat Height 18 1/2 inches - 47cm

Width: 26 inches - 66cm
Height: 43 inches - 109.5cm
Depth: 25 inches - 63.5cm

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