The 1st April edition of Antiques Roadshow visited the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, with the advantage that it featured an item of Chinese Arts & Crafts furniture .
In Lancashire, antique dining chairs inspired by the Orient are always of interest. On Sunday night, the source of this inspiration was revealed, when a Wimbledon resident presented an unusual chair he’d purchased from a reproduction furniture shop in Singapore. He’d discovered the chair – which was not part of the merchandise – hidden under a pile of carpets 10 years ago, and made an offer to the store owner on the hunch that it might be a genuine antique.
A quick appraisal by Antiques Roadshow Oriental expert David Battie revealed it was, indeed, provincial Chinese, although its origins were uncertain, as little research has been done in that area. In line with other Chinese furniture, the piece was foldable, with a crude wooden pin holding it together. Made of fruitwood, the chair was stained red to resemble Chinese cinnabar lacquered furniture. The splendid splat, carved with stylised bats heads and a central lotus flower, was surmounted by a yoke-shaped top bar of 17th century Ming design, which represented the Chinese peasant toiling with his yoked oxen. David doubted fakes of this standard were being made when the chair was purchased. Estimating it to be at least 100 years old, he gave it a conservative estimate of £500.
David Battie feels the market for provincial Chinese antiques is about to explode. If you are interested in unusual Victorian dining chairs , Lancashire has a number of specialist antique dealers.
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