Both chairs are upholstered with sections of a gilt-metal embroidered orphrey from a parade vestment applied to velvet, thus combining the ecclesiastical purpose of the textiles with a secular, purely decorative piece of furniture.(1) These elegant chairs are remarkable within the Robert Lehman Collection for their quality and general state of preservation and reflect the original late sixteenth-or early seventeenth-century chair type favored in France.(2) Thurman has discussed the prized appliquéd and gilt-metal thread embroidered textiles that were likely applied in the twentieth century, giving the chairs an ornate appearance when seen from a distance. Only after close inspection of the additive placement of images of saints and ecclesiastical plates does the later marriage of the frames with the upholstery become obvious. The ram’s head was a typical Renaissance element influenced by ancient prototypes and also used on cabinets and other furnishings.(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, pp. 237-38.
1. See also 1975.1.1994 and 1975.1.1995 a-d.
2. Thornton, Peter. Authentic Decor: The Domestic Interior, 1620 – 1920. London, 1984, pl. 34.
3. Holm, Edith. Stühle, von der Antike bis zur Moderne: Eine Stilgeschichte des Sitzmöbels. Munich, 1978, p. 15, ill. no. 12, pp. 73, 74, ill. nos. 72, 73; Boccador, Jacqueline. Le mobilier français du Moyen Âge a la Renaissance. Saint-Just-en-Chaussee, 1988, figs. 171, 202; Thirion, Jacques. Le mobilier du Moyen Âge et de la Renaissance en France. Dijon, 1998, ill. p. 144.