Set of Four Italian Chairs

Set of four walnut side chairs, the finials carved with leafage, the backs, front aprons and low front stretchers of interlaced branches, with rectangular broad seats and square legs. Italian, first quarter 17th Century.

Height  43"  (1,09m).Width  20"  (51cm). Depth  15"  (38cm).

Provenance :-  Sutton Place, Surrey. See H. Avray Tipping, English Homes, Period II, Vol. I, pp. 179-200, showing the house in 1924, furnished with Continental and English pieces, during the tenure of the 5th Duke of Sutherland. These chairs are likely to have been bought by him, or his successor, John Paul Getty, who owned the house until his death in 1976.

These chairs are very similar to a set in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (in the Gothic Room).

The unusual and striking design of stylised branches has parallels back into the mid-15th Century. The infilling of pierced marble panels by Donatello in San Lorenzo, Florence, of that date, show an even more naturalistic treatment.(1) The delicately carved finials of these present chairs have counterparts in the 16th Century and are closely similar to those on chairs in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence,(2) and to related chairs from Bologna and Ferrara.(3)
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Footnotes

1)  See Augusto Pedrini, Italian Furniture, Interiors and Decoration of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, fig. 432. p. 171.

2)  See Mario Tinti, Il Mobili Fiorentino, pl. CCXCII and pl. CCXCIV.

3)  See Graziano Manni, Mille Mobili Emiliani, 1980, figs. 511-513, p. 222.

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