James II walnut armchair c.1685.

Item Ref

An elegant walnut armchair of the James II period, c.1685, tall and graceful, this was an important new stage in English chair design.
This style of cane backed and seated chairs had represented a revolution in seating comfort, but with the disadvantage of fragility.
A surprising number of these chairs still exist (they were made in their thousands) but many are now suitable only for decorative purposes as woodworm, frequent recaning, and damage to the joints and the tall backs have rendered them virtually unusable.
This is not the case with this one. This chair, over 300 years old, with its glorious sculptural quality, is not just a joy to look at but can also be used, although care should be exercised as with all chairs of this type and age.
As usual with these chairs there are signs of old woodworm, but now defunct.
The crest rail is carved with a shell … a very fashionable motif of the period ..., this, and the front rail, are deftly executed with bold cuts of the chisel. This is typical of the sort of carving performed by London chairmakers at this period, by which maximum effect is achieved with the minimum of work.
DIMENSIONS: 47 inches tall, 23 inches wide, 25 inches deep.
PROVENANCE: Herefordshire private collection for the last 25 years.
| $1,192 USD | €1,014 EUR

Ming Dynasty Attendant Figure (1368-1644)

Item Ref

A fine large ceremonial figure of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The head, as is usual, is detachable. Sancai (three colours) glazed figures in particular are distinguished by their dress, for each wears a unique robe and hat, and as Chinese statuette art prescribes, the faces are created with individual features. Glazed in a rich forest green, Ming statuette art reflects the attempt to restore purely “Chinese” artistic genres with a healthy injection of Confucian aesthetic, political, and moral standards. Realistic depictions of daily life became popular themes among artists who were often patronized by the court. Under Xuande’s reign (1426-35), the art industry flourished, producing many exquisite porcelain and ceramic pieces. This figure is a product of the artistic revival that occurred throughout the Ming. This Ming attendant depicts an aspect of Chinese political and social life. Tributary processions were common protocol at this time, the emperor requiring Provincial lords to pay tribute and tax on a regular basis. Processions were also held for funerals, marriages, and rituals differing in grandeur depending on the status of the individuals involved and nature of the ceremony, So it was appropriate for such figures to be placed in a tomb to wait upon the deceased in the Afterlife and to indicate his high status.
This is a beautiful and evocative item of great age.
SIZE: Height 18.5 inches, width of base 5 Inches.
PROVENANCE: Purchased from the specialist dealer 'Ancient World' in 1996, and in the same private collection from then. Discovered in Beijing and brought into this country in 1995, when China opened to the outside world,
| $1,711 USD | €1,456 EUR

William and Mary oak chair c.1690.

Item Ref

A very attractive late 17th century William and Mary chair in oak, of excellent colour and patination.
This is a country made chair which combines a traditional low backed oak construction with a fashionable front stretcher. Clearly the person who caused this to be made had no faith in the high fashion of the time...high-backed, cane seated and backed, and made of beech or walnut - both prone to woodworm attack.
As with a lot of vernacular furniture, there is interest in close inspection: the carved volutes on the lovely front stretcher do not quite match, and, more obviously, neither does the turning on the front legs. it is these foibles that give country furniture such charm and individuality.
This is a beautiful and fully usable little chair.
SIZE: height 38 inches, depth 17 inches, width 19 inches.
PROVENANCE: The lifetime collection of a West Country gentleman.
| $925 USD | €787 EUR

Ancient Chinese Han Dynasty Hu.

Item Ref

A rare and fine Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) Greyware pottery Hu. Inspired by the late Chu bronzes, sweeping and massive, with a globular body. The very simple decoration is characteristic, fillets in relief and two jutting masks called Taotie. This is a motif found on earlier bronze vessels of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, and possibly further back to Neolithic times. It consists of a frontal zoomorphic mask, with raised eyes and no lower jaw; its purpose was to keep evil spirits away. A Hu was used for storing food, indeed, they have been found in tombs still containing food to sustain the deceased in the Afterlife.
It is encrusted with earth from the tomb where it stood for over 2000 years.
SIZE: 18 inches tall. (46 cm) This is an unusually large vessel; a more common size is about 14 inches.
CONDITION: Excellent, apart from a hair crack running up from near the base to the shoulder of the jar. Probably caused when it was removed from the tomb.
PROVENANCE: Discovered in Beijing and brought into this country in 1995, when China opened to the outside world, by the specialist antiquities dealer 'Ancient World' of York,
Then in a Yorkshire collection for the next 24 years.

| $2,463 USD | €2,096 EUR