A superb pair of William and Mary walnut open armchairs, each with pierced foliate toprail above a four bar vertical splat flanked by pierced foliate decoration and turned baluster stiles, with moulded arms with acanthus scroll terminals, above a caned seat with pierced foliate carved rails, with pierced foliate front stretcher and foliate-carved front legs joined by turned baluster stretchers, on paw feet.
With fitted silk squab cushions.
Height: 47¹/₄ in (120 cm) Width: 24 in (61 cm) Depth: 20¹/₈ in (51 cm)
These armchairs can be dated to circa 1690 owing to certain features they share with a walnut caned chair at Dunster Castle, Somerset. Both chair designs incorporate similar Carolean style carving, serpentine curved arms, turned stretchers and baluster-turned back posts. One notable difference are the solid splats of the present chairs, an unusual alternative to caning for chair backs of this period.
Another example with solid vertical splats is a walnut daybed, acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1925 and currently on loan to Turton Tower, Bolton. The daybed has other similarities with the chairs including paw feet and cavred front stretcher. They may have come from the same workshop.
The 'WS' mark on the chairs may refer to the Edinbugh cabinet-maker, William Scott who began trading in 1685 and was granted, circa 1692, the sole right to make caned chairs in Scotland by William III.
A. Bowett, English Furniture 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne, Woodbridge, 2002, p. 234, pl. 8:11 (for the related armchair)
J. Gloag, The Englishman's Chair, 1964, pl. 29 (for the related daybed)