Christopher Mac Donald, who is a London jeweller and has key knowledge about precious stones, has recently been assisting enquiries into understanding the profile of the owners of certain chairs and what jewellery they may have worn. Making historical connections and understanding the fashion and style of bygone times is a subject of great interest and inspiration.
This butterfly brooch once owned by a German lady, Elsa Hausknecht, was frequently worn and much loved.
The stones in this butterfly were named “Bohemian Garnet” in 1679 by Bohuslav Balbin, who raised the profile of a humble Pyrope Stone by doing so. Christopher believed the brooch to be made around 1870. This would mean that the butterfly brooch would fit very nicely with a New Rococo chair, possibly like the one picture below of around the same period.
There were two other pieces of jewellery which have made my acquaintance across the years.
Firstly, this simple but elegant brooch from 1876 made in silver and crafted in Sweden. This pieces would relate beautifully to the owner of the Farm House Chair, featured in my first collection of Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell.
Here is an extract taken from The Swedish Farm House Chair Tale from Please Be Seated – Historic Chairs and the Tales They Tell,
Ingrid’s allmoge (“folk art”) chair comes from the fertile plains of Skåne in southernmost Sweden and moved with its original owner to various different farms in the countryside around Lund. The chair was owned by Sven Otto Svensson, a farmer known as SOS to his friends and colleagues. He accepted the nickname with good humour, not least when he discovered that it could, on occasion, serve him well.
One day while the chair was living in Flädie, the jobbing painter Delin paid a visit. As the time had come to renovate the chair, it was duly spruced up and before long was standing there proudly and looking very dapper in its new green garb.
This second Swedish brooch, this time in gold, crafted in 1891, would also fit very well with another chair featured in the first book of Historic Chairs, The Professor’s Chair.
The professor was a well-known figure in Lund, and his name
was known throughout the length and breadth of Sweden
You could be forgiven for thinking that the chair has a long and important history, but the professor bought it new, as a rather commonplace model from the first half of the twentieth century. In terms of style, there are traces of Rococo influence here and there, albeit with a modern touch.
Finally, the armrests of The Krogius Chair has always fascinated me as two elegant ladies with corkscrew curls and a string of pearls adorn each side.
These well-endowed busts of two attractive young ladies appear elegant and rather comical at the same time are a charming addition to this Baroque armchair.
Possibly a simple string of pearls would be in keeping with the fashion and style of the 1600s?
Here is an extract taken from the story of The Krogius Chair also found in Please Be Seated – Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell,
A Baroque armchair – a true bon viveur, if ever there was one – hails originally from France. It has been in constant use since the 1600s. Just imagine! That certainly makes it worthy of our respect; all the more so, since the chair is still very much part of day-to-day life and not merely collecting dust behind glass in a showcase somewhere or other. Showcases and museums are all very well, but this chair remains as dearly loved and warmly cherished today as it always has been, wherever life has taken it.
Paul Krogius (1724–1792) came from a well- known family of clerics in Eastern Finland and the handsome chair soon felt very much at home in his residence. Bishop Krogius was an erudite man who had previously been a university academic and a schoolmaster; we know that he owned and used the chair thanks to an inscription on the underside. The Krogius household shared their home with the chair for many, many years even as the family grew and fashions changed.
Written by author Gun Bjerkander Handberg
Note from the Editor – This blog is an extension of the beautifully produced hardback books published by Vind & Våg Publishing, where the author shares her tales of inspirational chairs and musing of a four-legged variety!
If you enjoy the blog, both books are now available online and at all decerning bookshops. Please Be Seated – Historic Chairs and The Tales They tell & Please Be Seated – More Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell.