Regency Period Oak Bergere Library Chair or Bedroom Chair attributed to Gillows of Lancaster
An unusually rare Regency Oak bergere library chair or bedroom chair attributed to Gillows of Lancaster.
With Classical Greek curricle form this chair is of small proportions with lipped back and classical swept arms terminating into gilded ball decorations. Plain brass paterae adorn the front and side seat rails and superb original brass castors remain to complete the wonderful Regency sabre legs front and back. To the base the letters ‘RG’ can be seen stamped to the front of the underside of the seat rail and conforms to others that have been similarly attributed to Gillows.
Susan E. Stuart in her two volume tome on the company has a similar example (Gillows of Lancaster & London 1730 – 1840, Vol 1, pg. 230, Plate 223) and it too has initial stamps although these are cited as ‘PP’. The marks are synonymous with Gillows’ Journeymen stamps and would have shown who had worked on certain pieces. The examples are further evidenced through the famous collection of Gillows furniture at Tatton Park. In this collection there are two examples which can be viewed on The National Trust Collection website (Inventory numbers: NT 1297319.1 & NT 1297454) both made from satinwood but with exacting similarities to this example. Interestingly, the Tatton Park examples were situated in the bedroom suites of the house, which would make sense given the proportions of all of the examples discussed.
The choice of oak over mahogany would at first seem an odd choice of materials for a chair of this period but it is certain that it would once have been painted with simulated rosewood pattern as was popular at the time. A similar pair are currently for sale in Mayfair for price on application.
The curricle shape was a popular design in the early part of the nineteenth century owing to the fashion for faithful renditions of classical design. Thomas Hope was the proponent for this style and the release of his work ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’ in 1807 led to its wider adoption in the UK, however, strictly speaking, the French designers, Percier & Fonataine were the creators of the style as can be seen through their commissions for Napoleon Bonaparte and his immediate circle. The Chateau Malmaison of Empress Josephine just outside Paris provides some good representations of their work.