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Antiques Considered - January 7, 2009

A couple from King George recently purchased this chair from an antique shop in Fredericksburg.  She refers to it as being tiger oak, but I suspect the possibility exists that it is English oak.  The finish seems to be in its original condition.  They paid $175 for it, and speculate whether it is a church chair or not.
My initial comment is that the couple got a wonderful bargain.  This chair appears from the photographs to be Jacobean Revival, dating from the mid-nineteenth century.  It is probably not an altar chair from a church, but rather possibly part of a larger dining suite.  The latter likely included another armchair, several side chairs and a large refectory-style table.  I see no carving of religious symbolism on the chair.
This chair replicates the style which was popular in the reign of King James I of England, the first Stuart king, who also James VI of Scotland, and who ushered in a new wave of furniture after the reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch.   
The Jacobean Period, which was the predominant motif down to the reign of William and Mary at century's end, came back into vogue in the reign of Queen Victoria, 1837-1901, and pieces were in great demand.  From the dark tone of the oak, I question whether the chair is English, but it also could be American.  To be certain I should have to see it in person.
The carving is the great value in the chair.  It is done by a master craftsman, and shows a high level of sophistication.  Happily, no one decided along the way to strip and refinish the chair.  Given its excellent condition, it is worth $350, or twice what the sale price was.   Obviously, were the chair an original Jacobean piece from the seventeenth century, the value would be much greater, but the Revival pieces have a fine market of their own.
• Lisa and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont  Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973.  The appraisal service began in 1976.  Write to him there,  or by e-mail at comantqu @ crosslink.net, with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in "Antiques Considered."
Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement. Snapshots once sent on to the JOURNAL for publication, cannot be returned.
 

 

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