Chair Seat Canvas Work

Embroidered chair seat, early 18th century, England. Embroidered chair seat, early 18th century, England. Copyright Victoria and Albert Museum, London, acc. no. T.120P-1956.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a chair seat that is embroidered in wool and some silk on a canvas ground material in tent stitch, using counted thread work. It dates to the first half of the eighteenth century and was made in England. It measures about 55 x 65 cm.

The central scene represents a nymph being chased by Apollo. The chair seat appears never to have been used. It was donated to the V&A together with other furniture covers. A letter added to the donation by the donor's nephew tells about the background of the furnishings: “They were worked by the first Lady King and her ladies. She was the wife of Peter Ist Baron King, who was Lord Chancellor from 1725 to 1733. His mother was the sister of John Locke the philosopher.”

The chair seat may thus reflect domestic work carried out by the ladies of the house. It could therefore be compared to the embroidery as shown on the mid-eighteenth century painting of Lady Jane Allgood, which was apparently meant for the upholstery of the furniture of Nunwick Hall in Northumberland.

See also the Needles entry on an embroidered formal chair from France, also from the eighteenth century.

V&A online catalogue (retrieved 2 November 2016).


Last modified on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 20:18