This is a chair. It is dated ca. 1844 and we acquired it in 1967. Its medium is molded papier-mâché, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, painted and gilt wood. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.
Although the technique of papier-mâché existed in China as early as 200 CE, its use in Europe culminated in the early to mid-nineteenth century with large scale productions. This chair demonstrates several techniques patented in the 1820s-40s for molding and steam-pressing layered paper to make it more malleable. This allowed for more elaborate shapes than previously possible, including scrolls and curves, seen here. The chair’s gilding and mother of pearl decoration accents reference traditional Japanese decoration.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 90.5 x 63 x 60.1cm (35 5/8 x 24 13/16 x 23 11/16in.)
It has the following markings
Imitation of a patent registration mark [opinion of Elizabeth Aslin of Victoria and Albert Museum, 9 Feb. 1968, "at top, where there should be a class number, the letter "H" appears. Other chairs with such fake registration marks exist."]; second mark under back of seat.
Cite this object as
Chair (England); molded papier-mâché, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, painted and gilt wood; H x W x D: 90.5 x 63 x 60.1cm (35 5/8 x 24 13/16 x 23 11/16in.); Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wiesenberger; 1967-66-1
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Rococo: The Continuing Curve 1730-2008.