The Under the Hammer column with Morphets of Harrogate

Banks' Geography c. 1797 in two vols 'The Whole World' and 'The Americas' illustrated with some of the earliest engraved plates. Estimate �800-�1.200
Banks' Geography c. 1797 in two vols 'The Whole World' and 'The Americas' illustrated with some of the earliest engraved plates. Estimate �800-�1.200

Working at auction can be rather how I imagine working in a sweet shop must be; full of treats you would like to take home.

Over the years it’s easy to become accustomed to spending your day amongst antiques, art and design but even the most seasoned valuer will be stopped dead in their tracks every now and then when something exceptional comes along.

This Windsor armchair is an example of a design made in the Thames Valley.

This Windsor armchair is an example of a design made in the Thames Valley.

The mid 18th century comb back Windsor armchair, pictured, is an example of a design made in the Thames Valley.

In Bernard D Cotton’s work ‘The English Regional Chair’ there is an illustration of a chair by John Pitt of Slough, the earliest provenanced English Windsor attributed to a known maker, which is remarkably similar to this chair.

‘Windsor’ is a generic term given to a chair composed of a wooden seat into which legs are morticed below and where a number of either turned or sawn and shaped uprights are morticed above, to create the back.

The earliest reference of ‘Windsor’ chairs is found in Stephen Switzer’s publication on rural gardening Ichnographica Rustica in 1718 in which he describes a ‘large seat called a Windsor seat’.

Windsors were made for the garden and the house, the former painted green to protect the chairs from the weather and these can be seen in eighteen century family portraits painted outdoors.

The Windsor chair illustrated here is to come under the hammer at Morphets’ Fine Art and Antique Catalogue sale to be held on Thursday 7 March and is of a deep colour and patination, the splat or centre panel in the back has remnants of a painted sunflower, long faded, and is without doubt an exceptional example of the ubiquitous Windsor armchair.

Morphets’ Fine Art and Antique Catalogue Sale goes on view on Tuesday 5 March at 2pm or can be viewed now on line www.morphets.co.uk (calendar page).

The sale also includes a large array of diamond, precious and semi-precious jewellery, vintage and later watches, silver, a private collection of portrait miniatures, works of art, period furniture, European and oriental ceramics and works of art, collectors’ items, silver, glass, clocks and books including Banks’ Geography c. 1797 in two vols ‘The Whole World’ and ‘The Americas’ illustrated with some of the earliest engraved plates depicting Cooke’s voyages, estimated at £800/£1,200.

If you are thinking of selling and would like advice on the auction value of your items please contact Liz Pepper-Darling liz@morphets.co.uk or Nicholas Mellors nicholas@morphets.co.uk tel: 01423 530030 or call into the Saleroom and Offices, 6 Albert Street, Harrogate HG1 1JL.