With Massive Hollowed Out Trunk Back and Joined Frame Construction
Richly Patinated Solid Elm and Oak
An extraordinary and important early primitive dug out armchair, this example is one of only a handful known to have a joined construction built onto the tree trunk body. This delightful chair has a bold and generous primitive wing backed form and well shaped arms. The solid legs are joined in the front by a massive horizontal stretcher and the piece exudes a sense of history. Dug out armchairs are a vital and rare part of early British furniture history, often created from the trunks of elderly and rotten trees where the central sapwood was easier to char and adze out and the trunk broad enough to create a generously sized seat. There are very few examples that survive, although there were two held in the legendary Rous Lench Collection and another fine example bequeathed by Roger Warner to the Temple Newsum Collection in Leeds. The front board of the two plank seat has been reset and the arms show evidence of wear and some minor losses, but these along with the characteristics and patination of age and use somehow add further to the charm and appeal of this quintessentially primitive and sculptural qualities of this icon from the British Vernacular Furniture Tradition.
English c. 1720
41” high x 24.5” wide x 22” deep
Literature: Tobias Jellineck, “Early British Chairs and Seats 1500-1700”, Antique Collectors Club, Woodbridge Suffolk, 2009. Page 134, Plate 144