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John Cobb: A Pair of George III Mahogany Armchairs
England, circa 1770

An outstanding pair of George III armchairs in the French Hepplewhite taste, attributed to John Cobb. The mahogany show frames of exceptional depth of colour and magnificently carved throughout with gadrooned detail. With silk upholstered backs, seats and armrests. Standing on four elegant cabriole legs carved to the knees with cabochon framed with acanthus leaves, similarly gadrooned and terminating in French scrolled toes.

The distinctive gadrooned frame and finely carved knees of these chairs belongs to a group of seat furniture traditionally attributed to the celebrated cabinet-maker John Cobb (d. 1778) of St. Martin's Lane and who was 'upholsterer' to George III from 1761.

In the 1770s, Cobb was known to supplied a closely related, though less sophisticated, suite of six chairs together with a matching settee to Philip Yorke for Erdigg, near Wrexham, which may still be viewed in the house today.

A single armchair from the group was sold from the famous Leidesdorf Collection, Sotheby's New York, 28 June 1974, lot 162, a set of four armchairs were sold Christie's London, 23 June 1983, lot 162; and two pairs were sold Christie's London, 9 June 1992, lot 68, and 18 November 1993, lot 54.

Height 36.00inch (91.44 cm)
Width 24.00inch (60.96 cm)
Depth 21.00inch (53.34 cm)


With Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd., London
Private Collection, UK


Lanto Synge, Great English Furniture, p. 127, fig. 144 illustrates one of the chairs.

These chairs, as a set of 6, are illustrated in the Grosvenor House Catalogue, with Mallett, in 1997.

Further examples of this type are illustrated in:
R.W. Symonds, 'The French Style in English Furniture', The Antique Collector, July - August 1950
M. Harris, The English Chair, rev. ed., 1948, p. 142, pl. LXX
Francis Lenygon, Furniture in England, 1914, fig. 101

Reference - F06.37