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Antiques Considered - January 2, 2013

This Victorian chair is one of a set of five that belonged to a family from the lower Northern Neck.  It is walnut, and, along with two others in the set, has a needlepoint seat.  The remaining two have fabric seats.  All are sturdy and in good condition.

 

Clearly, at least one, and possibly three chairs are missing from the original suite, which would have consisted of six or eight units.  They date from the mid-nineteenth century, and are typical of the cabinetmaking of that period.  The embossed panels on the crest rail are veneered in burl walnut, and the arms are proportioned gracefully.

Perhaps originally the seats were caned, with the needlepoint being a later addition.  If so, the value has in no way been diminished.  I suggest trying to make needlepoint seats for the remaining two chairs to tie the set together.  The set appears to be of Mid-Atlantic origin, and most importantly, to have its original finish.

Cabinetmakers produced these chairs in abundance, and by looking in antique shops and at auctions, similar, or at least compatible ones, could be found to augment the set.  The Victorians liked this style and it remained popular well into the twentieth century.

The needlepoint chairs are worth $90 each and the others $60 each.  If possible to find an identical one to make the set six once again, the overall value would be greater.  In the West sets of items usually are of even numbers, whereas in the Orient the preference is for odd-numbered sets.

As a general rule the value of Victorian furniture is down at the present time, whereas a generation ago it was much more in favor.  Tastes change, and one day it will come back into vogue.  In the meantime these are nice chairs to use and enjoy as good examples from that period.

 
Happy Antiquing!

 

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