A pair of rare Arts and Crafts oak armchairs,
by C F A Voysey (1857-1941), c.1902, each with leather and studded drop-in seats,
100.5cm high, seat 42.5cm high (2)
Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, was educated at Dulwich College and was a prolific architect- designer within the Arts and Crafts movement. An undistinguished academic at college, Voysey later claimed he became an architect because it was 'the only profession for which one did not need to pass any examinations'. Beginning his career in 1881, he first established himself as a designer of furniture, textiles and wallpapers. Winning his first building commissions in 1890, he quickly earned a reputation of being a master of artistic cottages and modern country houses.
He paid meticulous attention to detail, designing every aspect of a project, down to the door hinges. Voysey regularly exhibited watercolour elevations of his building projects, furniture and decorative designs at the Royal Academy, and is celebrated today as one of the leading British designers of the turn of the 20th century.
The simple design, personified by a heart motif on the back of a chair, is one of Voysey’s best known furniture designs. F C Nielsen, who made other furniture that Voysey designed, made these chairs from 1902, in differing proportions. One telltale detail is the dovetail construction fixing the splat to the frame. Versions of this chair can be seen in major collections around the world with leather and rush drop-in seats.
Voysey had a limited number of designs that he used, but in many of his schemes for interiors, this model appears often - his mantra was for furniture with a ‘sense of proportion and puritanical love of simplicity’.
Few of these chairs have come on the market over the last ten years, the most recent a pair of single chairs without arms, which sold in March this year for £16,500.
No doubt, this pair are the exemplar of the Arts and Crafts tradition and rarer still to be found together after all this time. Examples of this chair can be seen in The Homestead, built for the General Manager of the Essex and Suffolk Equitable Insurance Society, whose offices Voysey designed, and is among his best-preserved domestic masterpieces.
The vendor has been the lucky owner of these for over forty years.
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Sold for £18,000
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Provenance statement from the vendor '- I have no information as to their original owners. My father was a highly respected antique collector, he had two antique shops in Bath. He had a great eye for high-quality craftsmanship in the design and making of all periods of furniture, which I have inherited from him. I spent much of my childhood and youth in these two shops.
split to the splat panel above and below the heart shape. Right arm - this has been reset - split down the line of the stretcher below. Seat split to the join, webbing replaced. Back rail has some splits to the inner edge. Studwork worn and rusted – three worn. Numbered VI to the edge of seat.
Top right upright rest and restored. Seat faded and loose – later screws into the seat from the underside. Studwork rusted and worn. Some studs are loose. Webbing replaced. Numbered IX to the edge of seat.
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Auction: Arts & Crafts and Art Deco - Live Online, Tue, 8th Sep 2020
The Arts & Crafts and Art Deco sale is shaping up to be one of the most interesting sales within our 20th Century Design department this year.
Fresh to the open market is a collection of Stanley Webb-Davies furniture commissioned in the 1930s, one of Great Britain's premier makers of Arts and Crafts furniture. A pair of chairs, by the architect and designer C F A Voysey, comes to us from a private collection and are a very exciting inclusion; they feature the designer's signature heart-shaped backs, following his ‘sense of proportion and puritanical love of simplicity’. Also included by Voysey is a rare example of his architectural clock in oak, the dial inlaid with pewter letters 'Tempus Fugit'. Works by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson, John Makepeace Workshop and Liberty of London are a few of the designers included in the sale.
Within the Art Deco category is a fine figure of the ‘Dancer of Karpurthala’ by the genius of the period Demetre Chiparus (1886-1947), created in bronze and ivory, placed on a marble and onyx plinth this comes from a private collection. Further Art Deco figures, furniture and lighting, including an iconic table lamp by Tiffany, complete the sale.
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Friday 4 September, 9am - 5pm;
Saturday 5 September, 10am - 4pm;
Sunday 6 September, 10am - 4pm;
Monday 7 September, 9am - 5pm
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