The style with turned balusters and X-stretchers is an adaptation of a chair form that was favored in the Netherlands, Flanders, and Spain during the late sixteenth century and first half of the seventeenth century.(1) At a time when most church floors were still used as burial ground and when strong social barriers characterized the congregation, such folding chairs were used by the affluent during parts of the divine service. Afterward, the seats could be stored in the church or taken away.(2) The Lehman chair was made in the twentieth century, specifically to accommodate two sections of a gilt-metal embroidered orphrey from a parade vestment, thus combining the ecclesiastical function of the textiles with a decorative chair deriving from a similar environment.(3)
Catalogue entry from: Wolfram Koeppe. The Robert Lehman Collection. Decorative Arts, Vol. XV. Wolfram Koeppe, et al. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 251.
1. Jonge, Caroline Henriette de and Willem Vogelsang. Holländische Möbel und Raumkunst von 1650 – 1780. Stuttgart, 1922, fig. 297; Koeppe, Wolfram. Die Lemmers-Danforth-Sammlung Wetzlar: Europäische Wohnkultur aus Renaissance und Barock. Heidelberg, 1992, p. 180, no. M33; Du Pasquier, Jacqueline. Mobilier bordelais et parisien. Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Bordeaux. Inventaire des collections publiques francaises 41. Paris, 1997, p. 27, nos. 4a, b.
2. Holm, Edith. Stühle, von der Antike bis zur Moderne: Eine Stilgeschichte des Sitzmöbels. Munich, 1978, p. 85, ill. nos. 111, 112.
3. Thurman, Christa C. Mayer. The Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 14, European Textiles. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, pp. 126 – 27, nos. 60, 61.