The chair is a better-preserved version of No. 159. The main difference is that the present chair has a more complex and tight arrangement of the tarsia a toppo marquetry on the frame. The marquetry consists of similar tiny polygonal pieces of variously colored woods, bone, and metal arranged in geometric patterns, and includes a motif of a square that is assembled by nine tiny squares that need magnification to be fully appreciated. This tour de force of marquetry cutting can be observed in several other models as well and may represent the most intriguing pattern that Hispano-Moresque artisans produced in Granada or the very south of Spain.(1) The back and the seat cushion are covered in silk cut velvet made in fifteenth- or sixteenth-century Italy.(2) The seat, however, is formed by joined pieces of an orphrey band with the ihs monogram within sunrays (see detail ill.). The back was most likely covered by a matching piece when the chair entered the Robert Lehman Collection.(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. 231-32.
1. In addition to the works listed in No. 159, see Colsman, Edla. With Hans-Werner Nett. Möbel, Gotik bis Jugendstil: Die Sammlung im Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln. Kataloge des Museums fur Angewandte Kunst Koln 14. Stuttgart, 1999, p. 48, no. 8. For the marquetry, see Michaelsen, Hans, and Ralf Buccholz. Vom Färben des Holzes: Holzbeizen von der Antike bis in die Gegenwart. Literatur, Geschichte, Technologie, Rekonstruktion, 2000 Rezepturen. Petersberg, 2006, fig. 31.
2. Thurman, Christa C. Mayer. The Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 14, European Textiles. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, p. 100, no. 40.
3. A related design can be seen on the reverse of another chair back in the Robert Lehman Collection (1975.1.2438). Thurman attributed the piece to seventeenth-century Italy or Spain (Thurman 2001, p. 210, no. 141).