unusual to find a set of eight matching dining chairs in Europe, where sets
typically come as six or twelve.
Therefore, we suspect that these eight were originally part of a set of
twelve whose other four members have been lost along the way. Even at eight, it is rare to find them
intact and in such good shape.
Theirstylistic origins lie in the north of Italy at the end of the sixteenth century
when the original design would have been for a narrow armchair in a basic
rectangular shape with a broad front stretcher (as seen in the Museum of Sforza
Castle in Milan). As a down-sizing of
the classic chaise cathèdre or bishop's chair that morphed into a dignitary's
chair, the tall back remains a symbol of authority, topped by finials in the
form of acanthus leaves. The acanthus
leaf, that decorative symbol of choice since Roman times, appears again in a
paired design for the front feet of the chairs.
Thefront stretcher is wide and curved with a central, hand-carved circular floral
motif common in Renaissance furniture, particularly the central image of cabinet doors.
Thesechairs have been restored with springs and padding, and upholstered in superior
upholstery grade, aniline-dyed leather whose rich grain and warm brandy color
complement the color of the wood.
Samples of the leather are available to prospective purchasers upon
request. The leather upholstery has
been affixed using modern decorative nails that are a reproduction of a
Renaissance Italian design.