Six lacquered armchairs. Venice, last quarter of the 18th century


Group of six armchairs in ivory lacquered, painted and gilded walnut wood. Contoured back; the wavy armrests are carved with an acanthus leaf, both on the grip and on the under armrest, the latter develops with a twisting movement and, laterally, the leaf ends in a curl.

The legs are truncated-conical, fluted with a vase-shaped foot, embellished with a fretwork of beads and connected to the band by drip elements. The backrests are decorated with a weave of painted ribbons, which ideally hold the parallel carved Greek fret that delimits the padding; the ribbon motif becomes a design of blue festoons hanging from red galls and with golden tassels, both on the armrests and on the uprights and bands. The carved parts are gouache gilded.

Dimensions: 99 x 62 x 56.5cm.


Historical-stylistic analysis:

This group of lacquered wood armchairs is part of the Venetian production of the last quarter of the 18th century. Despite a structure and a decorative apparatus composed of purely neoclassical elements, including the truncated conical legs, ribbons, festoons, galls and drips, they present on a structural level the persistence of some attributes attributable to the middle of the century, such as the everted armrests, characteristic of the Baroque taste. In fact, even when he tries to approach the models of neoclassicism, the Venetian furniture maker will not easily abandon the use of sinuous curves, as in our case.

The fluted truncated conical legs are instead a clear element of reference to the classical, architectural world. A similar production can be found in two living room harnesses datable to the same period and kept in Venice at the Querini Stampalia Foundation.

The first shows similarities with ours both on a structural level and in the decoration, the armrests are for example very similar in shape but also in finish, for example look at the acanthus leaf carved on the under armrest. The second harness has a painted decoration of leaves and berries joined together like a long uninterrupted ribbon that speaks of the same taste in painting as the seats described here.

Comparison biography

  • Zorzi A., Marton P., I Palazzi Veneziani, Magnus Edizioni, Udine, 1989, pp. 326,328,331;
    Gonzalez-Palacios A., Casa d’oro, The styles of furniture, Vol. 1, Fratelli Fabbri Editori, Milan, 1966.
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