Oak, with leather upholstery (of later date)
115 x 56 x 47 cm
English, circa 1880
Although this model traditionally has a rush seat, the original seat frame appears not to have been designed for that purpose (see notes, below)
Tabard Inn, Bedford Park, London; presumably Messrs. Patrick & Macgregor; acquired by John Bonython, late 1950s, and by descent
A chair of this pattern, with a rush seat, belongs to the Victoria and Albert Museum (CIRC. 24.1 and 2-1958).
The following note is based on the V&A website:
‘In 1958 Elizabeth Aslin, the museum’s nineteenth-century furniture specialist in the Department of Circulation, visited the Tabard Inn, Bedford Park, Chiswick, which was then being refurbished. Aslin saw a collection of furniture intended for disposal, and recommended that the V&A acquired a chair of this pattern from the licensees, Messrs. Patrick & Macgregor.
When originally acquired, the chair was thought likely to have been designed in the office of the architect Richard Norman Shaw, who designed the Tabard Inn 1879-1880.
In 2008 Andrew Saint, author of Richard Norman Shaw (1976) confirmed that it was unlikely that Shaw’s office was responsible, as there is no evidence to support the theory.
The chair might have been made by Morris & Co. who illustrated a similar design, ‘Hampton Court’, for an armchair, price 53s 6d, and a single chair, price 32s. in one of their trade catalogues, dating from around 1912. A much closer design, with an upholstered seat instead of the rush drop in seat is illustrated by William Birch & Son, High Wycombe, in their catalogue of Dining Room chairs (n.d.), page 16, no. 2766 (photocopy in Craftsmen file, Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Information Section, V&A), and it is possible that this firm was actually responsible for the Tabard Inn chairs.’