An outstanding pair of George II mahogany hall chairs in the traditional sgabello form. Each chair with an elaborate cartouche shaped moulded back of concave form above a similarly shaped seat with dished roundel, the shaped front and rear legs joined by a stretcher.
Exceptional examples of their kind. The mahogany of particularly fine colour and patina, and of very impressive weight.
Private Collection, UK
Height: 42.13 in (107 cm) Width: 18.90 in (48 cm) Depth: 20.08 in (51 cm)
The inspiration for the basic form of the hall chair comes from the Italian Renaissance sgabello, which were stools with a back support often carved and decorated with heraldic imagery and placed in the hallways of grand palazzos. The sgabello chairs featured a solid wooden seat, which was easy to clean and suitable for entrance halls.
Hall chairs first appeared in England in the early 18th century. By the mid-18th century, designs for hall chairs appeared in Chippendale's Director as well as other contemporary design books including Robert Manwaring's The Chair-Maker's Real Friend and Companion.
Throughout the rest of the 18th century each of the major English designers, including Wlliam Kent, Thomas Chippendale, Robert Adam, George Hepplewhite, Thomas Sheraton, and Gillows of Lancaster & London, all developed hall chairs of their own design.
A fine example of the sgabello hall chair can be found at Ham House, Surrey. Goerge Nix supplied a total of eighteen sgabello hall chairs for Sir Lionell Tollemache, 4th Earl of Dysart, carved and painted with the earl’s coronet and the Tollemache arms.
Dumfries House contains a very fine set of Georgian sgabello hall chairs made by the cabinetmaker Alexander Peter of Edinburgh. Peter, along with Thomas Chippendale, was one of the prinicple furniture makers at Dumfries House.
L. Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Yale, 2009, fig. 63-64.