Origin: Venetian Period: Early 19thC Provenance: Unknown Date: c.1800-20 Height: 39.5” Width: 35.5” Depth: 18” (all approximate & at extremities)
The shaped Venetian gondola chair having polychrome decorated panels to all sides and retaining the original velvet upholstery, with iron rivet fixings to the legs, the whole beautifully gilded and carved, survives in untouched original order from the first quarter of the nineteenth century
The overall condition would be described as completely untouched, unrestored, and un-meddled with. There are some losses to the carving and gilding but this is relatively low considering the age and the whole still retains much original paint and probably the original velvet upholstery. There is some old worm in very small quantity one or two of the legs. See photos for visual reference.
The imagery here is rich and wonderfully Venetian showing dolphins, courting couples, garlands, floral sprays, putto and regal ornament which could be further investigated and researched. The decoration has a superb craquelure and patination as does the gilding.
A gondola chair, furniture dictionaries say, is a late 18th- to early 19th-century upholstered chair with a concave back and side rails that curve down to the seat. However, there is another, more glamorous gondola chair that is less publicised, and which we have before us here. This typed of Venetian gondola chair is carved and painted or upholstered in leather with a high back that curves down to the seat. The sides of the back continue forward to form arms that are attached to the seat by another curved support. It has four splayed legs that start at the seat and slant away from the chair. This type of chair was made in the 1800s and looks a little like the front of an Italian gondola and it may even have been a seat for a gondola passenger. The Venetian gondola chair is rare and is most desirable in this form, IE gilded and painted.
A stunningly beautiful and rare sculptural piece in the most desirable condition.