A Decorative 17thC Spanish Walnut Baroque Period Side Chair

Origin: Spanish
Period: Late 17thC
Provenance: The Collection of Graham & Susan James
Date: c.1680
Width: 19 inches
Depth: 17 inches
Height: 42.5 inches

The seventeenth century hide-upholstered joined walnut side chair, with traces of an attractive blue paint remaining to the lower carving, the whole having a rectangular back and seat upholstered in hide attached with over-sized nails, foliate carved and pierced front stretcher and scroll-cut low side stretchers survives from the baroque Spanish period.

The chair has clearly seen an awful lot in its long years and it does show, though this is part of their huge appeal. As such there are losses, crude and primitive (but charming) old repair to the carved front stretcher, some joint repairs, and surface wear to the whole with some worm wear to the ends of the front legs which have losses. The hide is probably original but has one tear to the centre back. It has a wonderful colour and deep patination to its walnut frame and has probably seen things in 17thC Spain that you or I would not dare dream of. This is not to deny that it is of considerable quality, with a gorgeous mellow patina to the walnut and a softness to the leather, and it does remain fairly sturdy and comfortable though would be better used decoratively than sat on every day.

At its most extravagant, Spanish Baroque seemed to be trying to rival and outdo even the more extreme interpretations found in the rest of Europe. The style employed architectural features and the human figure in the emotional, eccentric style known as Churrigueresque, after the chief practitioner of this fantastic manner, Don Jose Churriguera (d.1725). It was as if the style was a last defiant gesture by a dying empire. During the reigns of Philip III (1596 - 1621), Philip IV (1621 - 1665) and Charles II (1665 - 1700), Spain was growing both poorer and politically weaker. Nevertheless Spanish society seemed determined to keep up appearances, and as always, handmade furniture was one of the main props in the drama.

This chair is similar to a set of eight that we sold to the set for Game of Thrones (House Bolton), though this has the addition of the foliate carved stretcher and the original paint to it making it more decorative. Sansa Stark eat your heart out…