This Windsor chair, carpenter-made in Cornwall during the second half of the 18th century has the aesthetically powerful qualities which Windsors made in the Celtic countries and the West Country in England often have. This robust fireside chair which was made to survive, often in the harshest of domestic conditions, is combined with exquisitely naive qualities which include the massive, lightly sculptured Elm seat which has a straight front and outward turned ends, elements which are associated with the earliest group of Windsor chairs made in London and the Thames Valley. The turned legs are not connected by stretchers, in the manner of the majority of Celtic and Cornish Windsor chairs of this type. Although the maker was a proficient turner, he made the back spindles from cleft Ash, using a draw-knife, and the facets created by this tool can be clearly seen. This was the normal way in which Windsor back-spindles were produced in the West Country, often being made by coopers and other woodworkers who were adept at using the draw-knife (see also lot 234). The design characteristic of splaying the spindles outwards and pegging them in place through the front face of the comb rail or hoop are, too, all characteristic of West Country Windsors. The ogee shaped curved comb rail is the crowning element of this chair, and its design clearly illustrates its origins in the Cornish tradition.
DR B D Cotton 2004