A very rare giltwood drawing room conversational chair or prie-dieu by Miles & Edwards, London.
This exceptional piece owes its heritage to the French Louis XV bergere ponteuse chair which saw the invention of an elbow pad across its top rail on which a person could lean whilst watching card games. Made during the time where the drawing room was becoming a popular place for the rich to entertain and also to relax. Sadly, these chairs are all too often likened to a prayer chair which although similar in style, were manufactured for completely different reasons.
This chair shouts of the late George IV, early William IV period, with its crisp French style scrolled feet, cartouche laden front legs and boldly swept backrest. It is stamped to the base for the makers, Miles & Edwards, 134 Oxford Street, London and the number 15217 denoting its order number. The chair has been upholstered in a superb and historic blue silk damask from the Gainsborough collection.
Henry Miles & John Edwards were prominent cabinet-makers trading in Oxford Street from 1822 to 1845 whereafter all the company’s undertakings were transferred to a Charles Hindley. They were responsible for undertaking commissions for numerous country houses and the stamp pictured would suggest an early date due to its serial number (I have owned and sold pieces with pre-Hindley stamps numbering within the 40,000 range).
It is very rare to encounter marked furniture from this period and this piece exudes superior quality. They are mentioned in Christopher Gilbert’s “Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840” and have been the subject of an interesting study by Felicity Mallet entitled “Miles & Edwards of London”. The records of their dealings are held at the Westminster library alongside the Gillows collection.
Circa 1825 - 1835