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Armchair

Owen Jones (British, 1809–1874)

Jackson and Graham (British, 1836–1885)

c. 1867-1870

Medium mahogany with veneers of mahogany, purpleheart, ebony, harewood, and hollywood, gilded decoration, modern velvet upholstery, and brass Measurements H: 38 x W: 25 x D: 30 in. (96.52 x 63.5 x 76.2 cm) Credit Berdan Memorial Trust Fund Accession Number 1997.21.1 Location Not on View

Narrative

The complex and dramatic contrasting marquetry decoration covering this chair is one of its outstanding design features. The elaborate surface decoration is similar to the designs for furniture and wallpaper published by architect and design theorist Owen Jones. While studying Islamic architecture in Turkey, Egypt, and Spain, Jones developed a fascination with color and pattern that provided the basis of his design philosophy. "Beauty of form is produced by lines growing out from one another in gradual undulations," Jones said. He offered this explanation of his approach to ornament: "The general forms being first cared for, these should be subdivided and ornamented by general lines; the interstices may then be filled with ornament, which may again be subdivided and enriched for closer inspection."