Windsor chairs made in London and the Thames Valley during the mid 18th century adopted a dynamic style and elegance unequalled in other Windsor traditions. This particular example is made of yew, a highly prized wood, which would have designated it as a 'best' chair by its maker. Unusually the seat is made in mahogany which, when used in Windsor chairs, usually implies that it was made for a gentry household, perhaps for a library or study.
The chair is unusually sophisticated with accomplished carving of stylised flowers and other devices. The cabriole legs to the front have an anthemion carved on the knee with graduated husk flowers below. The seat also has a row of husk flowers along the front edge and the splat has carving throughout its length incorporating ears of wheat, husk flowers and other foliate detail. This chair would appear to have had a sheltered life and the evidence of the original lathe stock marks on the bottom of the full height feet pads indicate that it has largely avoided normal day-to-day usage. The seat also retains interesting evidence of its manufacture and has both its original concave adze and travisher marks clearly visible below. The two short stretcher supports are replacements.
This distinctive chair is arguably the finest example of only a handful of this design which have been identified. It featured in a lecture given by Dr. B.D. Cotton as part of the Frederick Parker Foundation Annual Lecture series, at the Linnean Society, London, in October 2000. Three other similar chairs of this type are known. One forms part of the Frederick Parker Collection and is published in Ivan Sparkes, The Windsor Chair, Spur Books, 1975, p.53, and has turned cross stretchers between the legs which are replacements for the original crinoline stretcher. Two other chairs were sold here at Christie's on 27th June 2001, lot 344 (sold for £9000) and lot 345 (sold for £7500), from the collection of the late Sir Frederick Richmond Bt.
Dr. B. Cotton May 2002