Irish George II Side Chair, ca. 1740
Appraised Value: $15,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 8
Appraisal Video: (2:57)
Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture, Musical Instruments
GUEST: This chair came to me from my great-great-grandmother. She was one of 21 children. When she got married, she brought with her this chair. It has been assumed that it was possibly one of a set of chairs, possibly dining room chairs. But she continued the tradition of having many children, and she had seven children herself. So some of the other chairs may have been thus dispersed.
APPRAISER: 21 children?
GUEST: 21 children, 18 of whom survived to adulthood.
APPRAISER: That's amazing.
GUEST: She's pretty renowned in the family. (chuckling)
APPRAISER: That's amazing. Well, this is an 18th century chair. The date is around 1740. It's George II, and it was made in Ireland.
APPRAISER: We have been fortunate enough to do some appraisal work in some of the old plantation homes-- ones that have some of the original furniture that was there in the 18th century. It's not uncommon to find a set of Irish chairs, or particularly, I remember a pair of Irish settees from almost the very same time period. And in a way, it's interesting because it's such an over-the-top style representation from that time period. The only way I could describe it is it's a gutsy version of what was being done in England and the United States. I started doing research on this and the first thing I noticed was that this back splat-- and this is called a suspended tassel-- that suspended tassel is very characteristic of the way a lot of Irish chairs were made in that time period. The other thing that struck me as being particularly bold was the hairy knees and the hairy paws. Have you ever heard that term?
GUEST: Uh... not in reference to furniture. (chuckling)
APPRAISER: All right, and the other thing that was a clue for me is the face in the front. That's a heraldic face. Normally, you'll see lion's faces and things like that.
APPRAISER: But in this particular case, that's a pan or a satyr. This would have been made from the finest mahogany. Some island origin. Lots of times in the 18th century, they used Cuban mahogany. But the guy that made this was a master carver, and he would have been at the top of the shop before they would have ever let him get near this with a chisel or a knife. I feel very comfortable with telling you that a conservative insurance value would be $15,000.
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