Picture This LXII

Bonham’s The Oak Interior sale in Oxford on the 30th of September 2015 includes a variety of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century oak and other furniture.

There are plenty of excellent lots on offer, but I picked out lot 185, a pair of mid-eighteenth-century Gothic Windsor chairs with an interesting footnote by Dr. B. D. Cotton.

yew_& elm_gothick_windsor_chairs_c1750_01aPair of George II yew, elm and ash Gothic Windsor chairs, circa 1750. (Bonham’s)

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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15 Responses to Picture This LXII

  1. confur says:

    ‘Granny’s tooth’ ??? For that ?


    • Jack Plane says:

      With “interesting footnote”, I hoped to elicit a comment or two on the “Granny’s tooth” (amongst other strange remarks). An old woman’s tooth, or “Granny’s tooth”, is not the tool for that job!

      Unfamiliarity with tools and methodologies is often a short-coming of academics’ and cataloguers’ work.



  2. renorton says:

    These Windsor chairs are really nice. I love the gothic shapes instead of spindles but cant help wondering what are the balls at the bottom of the back legs for.


  3. renorton says:

    Wall Balls instead of chair rails, clever—-


  4. Remarkable chairs, that’s sure. Seems a little unlikely that the guy who made them didn’t have a scratch stock to cut the profile or bead or whatever. Broke a tip and had to make do? Or possibly the writer is mistaking tear-out in wonky grain for the use of a badly-adapted tool. I also wonder about the joint he speaks of at the point of the arch. He was saying they were usually splined? Looks like the chairmaker might have used a bridle joint here.


  5. Clark Schoonover says:

    Beside the reference to the “old woman’s tooth” , I don’t know if one would use a travisher on the bottom of a seat, unless it was used as a scrub plane. Perhaps the marks he saw were made by a scrub plane. I like the chairs very much.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Another of Dr. Cotton’s bizarre observations. A scrub plane would of course have been the tool used to roughly level the underside of Windsor seats – and virtually all non-show surfaces on every piece of late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century furniture, leaving the tell tale shallow furrows or “concave cut marks”.



  6. Tim Raleigh says:

    Dr. Cotton comments seem to be more about marketing the chairs than accuracy. They are interesting comments, and accomplished the task of making me look more closely at the chairs which I would have otherwise passed over…I appreciate the work that went into these after some scrutiny.


  7. James Owen says:

    Dr. Cotton appears to be unaware of the advantages of riving vs sawing parts – specifically the problems caused by grain run-out in sawn steam-bent parts, etc. – for (Windsor) chair-making and similar crafts, where the stability, strength, and light weight of riven parts are generally far superior to that of sawn parts.


  8. P A Flynn says:

    My observations on the Gothic Windsor Chair, is that the bridal joint is the most commonly found method of securing the pointed arch, whereas the spline (narrow fillet) I’ve only ever seen two examples, and one was an ominous rebuild, compared with say, a dozen or so of the interlocking ‘bridal’. It is a very pleasing joint visually, and is held with either one or two pegs driven from the back – sometimes at quite an angle to avoid coming through too close the centre seam of the facing arch.


  9. Pingback: Gothic Revival | Pegs and 'Tails

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