A Cracking Pair of Early Victorian Oak Gothic Revival Side Chairs by Holland & Sons c.1840

Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1840-50
Width: 20 inches (at maximum)
Depth: 21 inches (at rear legs)
Height: 37.5 inches (at maximum)

The pair of early Victorian period gothic revival side chairs, carved in oak with carved gothic decoration to the cresting rail of gothic roundels, the rectangular padded back and seat covered in nailed racing green leatherette on faceted octangular legs joined by chamfered square stretchers with brass caps and castors, the underside of both chairs stamped 'HOLLAND & SONS' and one with 'W. MILES'.

The condition of both chairs is mainly good and entirely original, with a natural and honest patina, deep colour and no sign of any restoration. The sprung seats are in good sturdy order and do not need re-springing or re-webbing. The leatherette is original and has considerable wear but, we think, charming and desirable. The castors are original and move freely. The chairs are both stamped twice “HOLLAND & SONS” and one with ‘W. MILES'’. One of the chairs is missing a rear cap.

The chairs' 'strong chamfered' gothic legs correspond to those of the 'plain' standard pattern chair introduced for the House of Commons in the 'New Palace of Westminster' fashion in 1849 by the architect A.W.N. Pugin (d.1852), under the direction of the architect Sir Charles Barry (see A. Wedgwood, A.W.N. Pugin, London, 1985, no. 481).

Originally founded in 1803 by Stephen Taprell and William Holland, a relation of the architect Henry Holland, the firm of Holland & Sons soon became one of the largest and most successful furniture making companies in the 19th Century. The firm worked extensively for the Royal Family, being granted the Royal Warrant early in the reign of Queen Victoria, hence taking a leading part in the decoration and furnishing of Osborne House, Sandringham, Balmoral, Windsor Castle and the apartments of the Prince and Princess of Wales at Marlborough House. Holland and Sons also worked extensively for the British Government, for whom they executed over three hundred separate commissions, including the Palace of Westminster, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and oversaw the State funeral of the Duke of Wellington. Among their private commissions the firm produced a celebrated suite of bedroom furniture for the late Sir Harold Wernher at Luton Hoo. The firm remained under family control until it closed in 1942.

The pair of salient chairs your hallway or library has always nagged you to acquire.