This Spanish late Baroque, eighteenth century walnut armchair is one of a pair (the other is HC.F.1935.302.[SF]). The front legs bow outward in a curve that continues into the curve of the back stiles to which the similarly curved armrests are attached. The back is formed from an inset-upholstered panel forming an undulating arch at top and bottom. Almost all surfaces of this chair, including the stretcher rails, are inlaid in bone with a repeat pattern of interlocking star shapes. Modern upholstery and tassel tie-backs replace similar upholstery from the earlier twentieth century.
Although the curved legs and back stiles of this chair are somewhat reminiscent of the “curule” style chair popular in Spain during the sixteenth-century Renaissance, the serpentine nature of the curves of the legs, armrests, and crest rail suggest a dating in the first half of the eighteenth century, when this more naturally-shaped curve was popular. Also beginning in the Renaissance but continuing into the eighteenth century, Spanish furniture was often inlaid with small pieces of ivory, bone, mother-of-pearl, metal, and/or exotic woods in a technique known as taracea, which had been introduced by the Islamic population in Spain. This type of inlay remained popular in Spain after the Treaty of Granada of 1471 and is now generally known as Mudéjar style.
Collection of Anna and William Henry Bliss, Montecito, California, probably until 2/22/1935.
Collection of Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss, Washington, D.C. [probably] 2/22/1935-11/29/1940.
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, House Collection, Washington, D.C.