Origin: English Period: William IV Provenance: Wolverhampton Railway Station, By Repute Date: c.1830-40 Height: 27 inches Length: 76 inches Depth: 25 inches
The William IV period three-seater settee or sofa, covered in the original naturally distressed aubergine brown rexine with loose squab cushion, having scroll arms on well-turned and fluted mahogany legs to brass ends, and by repute originally from Wolverhampton Railway Station, survives from the second quarter of the nineteenth century.
The settee is in ‘attic’ condition, that is, left entirely for a long period in original order. There are a few small tears and creases to the rexine. The whole is sturdy and stable and she proves extremely decorative with her reverse not having rexine to it. The piece would have probably sat on castors at one stage.
The first station on the site that is now known as Wolverhampton Railway station is the site that was opened on 1 July 1852 by the Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Stour Valley Railway, a subsidiary of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR); it was named Wolverhampton Queen Street. The only visible remnant of the original station is the Queen's Building, the gateway to Railway Drive which was the approach road to the station. The building was originally the carriage entrance to the station and was completed three years before the main station building. Today, it forms part of Wolverhampton bus station. This settee would have been made about 15 years previous to the opening of the station and its suitably relatively narrow proportions would have seen it sat in the waiting or ticketing area.
The brief reign of William IV c.1835-40 was an important period of transition between the Regency and Victorian eras. Classically inspired architecture of the Regency period was still popular, but the romanticism that was to characterise the Victorian era had begun to take hold. As such the furniture of the William IV period is essentially a more robust and chunkier version of the furniture made in the Regency period. Many of this type of settee from this period would have a ‘show wood’ frame where the wood would be exposed to the top rail and arms, usually in rosewood or mahogany, this one more subtle and therefore it glides into a modern interior far more easily.