A Very Unusual Faux Wicker & Rexine Upholstered Open Armchair c.1890

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Origin: Possibly Swedish
Period: Late 19thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890
Height: 35”
Width: 18.5”
Depth: 18”

The unusual late nineteenth century open armchair of carved wood being naturalistically modelled as faux latticed wickerwork, having a slat-hoop back to shaped arms with slat supports, with a drop in midnight-blue rexine upholstered seat, the whole on tapering legs with pad feet, possibly surviving from Sweden and the end of the nineteenth century.

The condition of the chair is just at the right level of decorative, yet fully useable, stable and without loss. The rexine covered drop in seat has some small tears though nothing of major concern and again has a decorative feel. The stained faux wicker decoration is now beautifully worn in the right areas, most appropriately to the arms with a super patina and some bitumen deposits. She is stable and ready for use, with the back being rather vertical she would make an ideal hall or occasional desk chair.

The artistic imitation of grains in various media is similar to faux bois and this chair is an extension to that idea but we have never seen a piece that is imitating wickerwork in this way before. This type of craft has roots in the Renaissance with trompe-l'œil and probably first crafted with concrete using an iron armature by garden craftsmen in France called "rocailleurs" using common iron materials: rods, barrel bands, and chicken wire. Early examples of this type of work survive at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont opened for an exposition in Paris in 1867, though we cannot find any example of faux wicker or rattan work.

A very unusual, possibly unique armchair with huge decorative appearance and folk art vibrancy.

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