A Rare Pair of Early Victorian Bergere Library Chairs by Holland & Sons
A pair of superb early Victorian Satin Birch Bergere Library Chairs by Holland & Sons.
These substantial chairs with satin birch ‘peg top’ legs and castors have been newly upholstered in black buttoned leather with feather down cushions and are likely to have been manufactured as his and hers chairs as they are very slightly different in proportions. One has a slightly straighter back than its partner and is a little slimmer in width indicating its intended use for a female sitter.
Attribution is facilitated through the leg style mentioned above. The peg top design is a signature of Holland & Sons manufacture with later examples evidenced through Christie’s sales catalogues. However, it is further supported by the War Department Broad Arrow markings to the back of both legs. Holland & Sons were a major contractor for the Government and HM Works throughout Queen Victoria’s reign and were also responsible for furnishing many of London’s Gentleman’s clubs of the period including the Army & Navy Club. It is likely that the Government stamp was used in preference to the Holland & Sons stamp for these commissions. The numerals ‘53’ on one of them would suggest the date of manufacture. The ledgers at the V&A although insightful are not detailed enough to discern exactly where these chairs may have once been housed but it is likely given the research I have undertaken that they were once part of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office collection.
The chair style reflects the movement away from the previous classical features of the Regency period with its unfussy leg design more reminiscent of the 16th and 17th centuries in its execution. The revival of earlier British styles such as Gothic and Elizabethan (although perhaps not strict interpretations) was a reaction to classical design that had held prominence for decades before.
A similar example of the style can also be found within the inventories of the Althorp Estate, once home to Lady Diana Spencer. It is currently situated in the billiard room.
A pair of extremely comfortable easy chairs with great character and extremely rare to encounter them in today’s market.
Circa 1850 – 1855