An exceptional set of eight early 19th century Regency period dining chairs, of well-shaped Klismos outline and rare generous proportions, attributed to George Oakley,
England, circa 1815.
These are certainly some the most sophisticated examples of dining chairs ever produced during the Regency period, and perhaps, during the entire 19th century.
Extremely rare with this particular form of front legs, derived from the ancient Greek 'Klismos' seats, these chairs feature exquisite brass inlays throughout, traditionally associated with the oeuvre of George Oakley (1773-1840), one of the most prominent London furniture-makers of the early 19th century.
An identical pair is illustrated in Ronald Phillips, fine Antique English Furniture 2018, pp. 158-159.
A sofa table, with Boulle-inlays identical to the ones displayed on the backs of these chairs, is illustrated in Mallett, The age of Matthew Boulton - Masterpieces of neo-classicism, London, 2000, pp. 112-113. This sofa table belongs to a group of furniture firmly attributed to George Oakley and certainly originates from the same workshop as the present chairs. An identically decorated daybed, en-suite with the present armchair, is illustrated in the same Mallett's catalogue, pp. 94-95.
The firm of George Oakley produced stylish furniture in the Grecian taste during the decades spanning the turn of the 19th century, and was one of the pioneers of ‘Buhl’ inlay, a form of decoration that regained popularity during the early years of the Regency. Fashionable materials such as rosewood, mahogany and calamander were often used in Oakley's furniture, combined with inlays of satinwood and ebony, and brass stars and bands of metalwork. The high-class furniture made by George Oakley earned him a royal appointment and a contemporary reputation for Fine craftsmanship.
Visits by the royal family to Oakley's Bond St Showrooms are recorded in the Morning Chronicle of 1799. In May ‘the ROYAL FAMILY, with the PRINCE and PRINCESS of ORANGE did Mr. OAKLEY the honor of viewing his Printed Furniture Warehouse in New Bond Street; when her MAJESTY, the Duke and Duckess of YORK, and the PRINCESSES, &c., highly approved of the splendid variety which has justly attracted the notice of the fashionable world.’ Two weeks later, ‘Notwithstanding the fatigues which the Royal Family underwent [at the King's Birthday Parade], the Queen and Princesses, accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of York made a tour of the most elegant shops and manufactories in the different lines of the useful Arts. We saw them at Oakley and Shackleton's magazine of furniture in Old Bond Street … and thus Their Majesties, in the prevailing taste for magnificence in every article of decoration, give the most flattering encouragement to the arts by their countenance and protection’. On the evening of the celebrations in honor of the King's Birthday, ‘the illuminations were mostly confined to the gaming houses and the tradesmen. OAKLEY's furniture magazine was the most tasteful and novel in its design’. [Morning Chronicle, 23 May, 5, 6 and 17 June] The accolade of Royal Appointment followed shortly after this tribute to royal patronage, and on 2 July an entry in the Morning Chronicle advertising the wide stock of fabrics available at 67 New Bond St is headed ‘GEO. OAKLEY and Co. FURNITURE PRINTERS to her MAJESTY’.
Eight Regency Brass Inlaid Klismos Dining Chairs, Attributed to George Oakley
Height: 35 in / 89 cm
Depth: 21.25 in / 54 cm
Width: 20 in / 51 cm
Seat Height: 18.5 in / 47 cm