Late Victorian Mahogany Desk Chair by Herring, Son & Clark, 109 Fleet Street, London
A late Victorian mahogany desk chair with ox blood leather upholstery by Herring, Son & Clark, 109 Fleet Street, London.
This robust and expertly shaped chair is a superb example of the resurgence of the Queen Anne style in furniture of the late Victorian period with its shepherds crook style arms and semi-circular cross stretcher. It is also shaped for practicality with generous armrests and seat.
The mastery of this chair is not surprising given the history associated with the firm. The company was founded by Robert Herring in the 1770s during the period of Hepplewhite and Sheraton’s designs with Herring being listed as one of the subscribers to Sheraton’s design books. He died as a notable member of the London community being a member of the Worshipful Company of Upholders and an active London councillor. The Gentleman’s magazine obituary section of 1820 notes his “amiable manners, strict integrity and his punctual attention to his official and professional duties”. Herring’s work of this period is also captured in the Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture by Gilbert.
Following Herring’s death, his son (also named Robert) continued the business at Fleet Street which thrived under his stewardship and an interesting picture of their premises appears in Tallis’s London street views (see images). Surprisingly, I can find no record of the firm at The Great Exhibition of 1851 but by the time of the second exhibition in 1862 Herring had already formed his partnership with Clark and the newly formed Herring, Son & Clark are listed as exhibiting “sideboards, chairs and a dinner wagon”
The final years of the firm saw the employment of Frank Collinson & George Lock who moved from the equally famous firm of Jackson & Graham to work for Herring, Son & Clark. Following the closure of the business in 1870, both of these craftsmen left to form Collinson & Lock who continued Herring’s legacy of fine English furniture.
A superb chair from a firm which is too often overlooked in the list of quality nineteenth century manufacturers of furniture. The chair is stamped in ink to the front and back rails.
Circa 1865 - 1870