Lancashire antique dealers visiting the Chester branch of Bonhams on July 5th had the opportunity to bid for a set of George III antique dining chairs by Gillows of Lancaster. The “Old Splat” pattern of the mahogany-veneered chairs is reminiscent of Victorian dining chairs of the Arts & Crafts period. However, this set was made at least a century before, circa 1770. The hammer price was £3,360.
When buying Victorian dining chairs in Lancashire, you will have an abundance of 18th century copies to choose from. Mid-18thC chairs were “revived” more than any other period – especially those in Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director. The first ever furniture design catalogue, it worked on the basis of patterns rather than drawings of specific items, allowing cabinetmakers and their customers to “mix and match” at will.
Chippendale’s patterns were soon copied by other designers. However, Robert Gillow was no copycat artist. He was designing furniture a full 20 years before Thomas Chippendale, and already had his own unique pattern books. However, he was happy to be influenced, and Gillow’s Georgian and Victorian dining chairs are inspired by Hepplewhite, Sheraton and the Brothers Adam, as well as Chippendale.
Gillow’s Old Splat pattern is remarkably similar to that of Chippendale ladder-back chairs, but lacking certain details, such as the deep chamfeuring on the front legs. The arched and pierced splats, quatrefoils, serpentine toprails and scroll carvings are, however, Chippendale through and through.
In Cumbria, Victorian dining chairs in the “Country Chippendale” style are always popular. Antique dealers in Preston also have antique dining tables to match.
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