• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 7841

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe

    29 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 78

    THREE GEORGE III POLYCHROME-DECORATED MAHOGANY MASONIC CEREMONIAL ARMCHAIRS

    THIRD QUARTER 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    THREE GEORGE III POLYCHROME-DECORATED MAHOGANY MASONIC CEREMONIAL ARMCHAIRS
    THIRD QUARTER 18TH CENTURY
    Comprising a Junior Warden's Chair, a Senior Warden's Chair and a Master's Chair, each with an arched pierced splat carved with C-scrolls and volutes and decorated with Masonic symbols and working tools, the Master's Chair backplate with integral square and compass and the arms of the Moderns Grand Lodge, each with a seat covered à châssis in brown leather, on square tapering legs, minor restorations
    The tallest: 76 in. (193 cm.); 34¼ in. (87 cm.) wide; 23¼ in. (59 cm.) deep; the next tallest: 63½ in. (161 cm.) high; 30¼ in. (77 cm.) wide; 19¾ in. (50 cm.) deep; the smallest: 59¼ in. (150.5 cm.) high; 30¼ in. (77 cm.) wide; 19¾ in. (50 cm.) deep (3)


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    L. Wood discusses the relation between the present lot and a pair now at the United Grand Lodge (Wood, op. cit, p. 484, fig. 338), as well as a further pair of Warden's Chairs now lost (but known from a photocopy illustration in the Lady Lever curatorial file) and a Master's Chair which was with Arthur Edwards in 1924 (Ibid, fig. 339).
    Wood further discusses how the chairs from the Lodge of Benevolence represent a later evolution of the Masonic chair pattern, with their square tapering legs, straightened back stiles and Hepplewhite-like cresting; the C scroll-carved cresting of the earlier pattern having evolved into a continuous serpentine line. Interestingly, a further chair attributed to Hepplewhite is in the Grand Lodge Museum, Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London.

    It appears that most ceremonial chairs - and not exclusively Masonic chairs - typically feature similar C-scroll crestings, among which the Chair of the President of Lyon's Inn, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (ill. in V&A, English Chairs, 1970, fig. 63). Amongst the ceremonial chairs most closely-related to the present lot, a set was supplied by George Seddon & Son to the Bridge Committee, Rochester, Kent, in 1785 (C. Gilbert, A few Seddon gleanings, 1998, pp.228-33, and figs. 4-6).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Principal Officers' Lodge furniture in the Lodge of Benevolence (No. 226, the Master's Chair).
    'The Michael White Collection of Masonic Art and Memorabilia', Bonham's, London, 30 August 1991, lots 235-237.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN


    Literature

    L. Wood, The Upholstered Furniture in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, 2008, vol. I, fig. 337.
    The Lodge's History of Bro. Joe Preston, Rochdale, 1928 (all three chairs illustrated).