A Magnificent c.1900 Moroccan Studded Brown Leather Throne Chair


Origin: Moroccan
Period: Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1885-1905
Height: 61 inches
Width: 31.5 inches
Depth: 30 inches (all at maximum)

Of very large proportions, with applied painted metal decoration in the form of crescent moons and stars, the five-foot high shaped back having two ebonised and gilt decorated acorn finials to the crest, with overstuffed lozenge shaped central shield, the body with outswept arms and padded seat, the whole upholstered in Moroccan red leather and iron studwork terminating on hipped legs, survives from turn of the century Morocco, North Africa.

Remaining in good to very good overall condition the leather is supple but not torn, with some wear to the seat but not to the degree where it has become undesirable, and the applied decoration is all in tact with no losses. The chair remains unquestionably solid, stable and has never suffered from worm or restoration. There are minor scuff marks but all in keeping with the chairs age.

Thrones, or chairs of state, have always been designed to represent the power of the dignitary who sits on them, the throne thus conferring that power. From the very beginning of Greek history, thrones were identified as seats of the gods. Soon the meaning of the word included the symbolic seats of those who held secular or religious power, a meaning common to virtually all cultures, ranging from Benin to the empires of South America. In the ancient world, especially in the East, thrones almost invariably had symbolic magnificence.
In the British Museum there is a fragment encrusted with gold, ivory, lapis lazuli, and carnelian believed to have come from the throne of Sargon II of Assyria (died 705 bc) and the oldest surviving throne is one that was built into the walls of Knossos (c. 1800 bc). The most splendid of thrones was perhaps the Peacock throne of the rulers of Delhi, set with jewels and raised on a dais with silver steps.

The ruler at the time this throne was crafted in Morocco would have been Abdelaziz of Morocco also known as Mulai Abd al-Aziz IV who served as the Sultan of Morocco from 1894 at the age of sixteen until he was deposed in 1908. He succeeded his father Hassan I of Morocco and he was a member of the Alaouite dynasty. Although we have no known provenance of this particular throne it is of very high quality and would have been extremely expensive to make at the time so obviously originally belonged to someone of relatively high status and wealth.

Moroccan furniture is reflective of their nature as well as their history drawing inspiration from the desert by inculcating colors like yellow, silver and gold into their furniture. Moroccans have a preference for strong colours that lends a definite personality to their furniture with the tendency to use a multitude of mosaic and fabrics. The intent behind all Moroccan furniture is that it is designed to radiate an aura of the tropics, to be an extension of their natural outer world, and as a result, the furniture is never delicate and fragile but strong, heavy and durable, just like this throne, reminding one of the vast trees in their environment. A lot of importance is given to the quality of the materials and Moroccans also like to experiment with various textures, leather being one of the clear favorites.

A stunningly opulent and monumentally grand slice of the exotic, just don’t forget the dates and milk…