39 1/4 x 26 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches
Gift of the Arch and Stella Rowan Foundation, Inc.Arts of Europe
This 18th-century gilded armchair was likely designed as part of a larger suite of furniture intended for a salon or formal drawing room. Every surface of the generously scaled Neoclassical chair features sophisticated carving, except the back. Because such pieces were made to stand against the wall, and brought forward only when required, designers and their clients felt no need to decorate a section that would seldom be seen.
Although this work is unsigned, the chair's proportions, angled seat back, and arms ending in ball motifs are all characteristic of the furniture made in the workshop of John Linnell, one of London’s most accomplished late-18th-century designers. He was among the first English furniture makers to be educated in design, having studied at St. Martin's Lane Academy, founded by painter William Hogarth. Linnell worked closely with the premier architect of the day, Robert Adam, and Linnell's close competitor in the trade was Thomas Chippendale.