The HOPE Chair

Possibly one of the earliest pieces of Tasmanian furniture still in existence today, this Sheraton/Hope carver chair is made from Australian cedar, and it is principally in fine original condition.

The image below shows the chair with its replacement leather hide seat, which was added over the frame without damage to the timber work. The leather seat is supported by webbing and a stuffing of cotton waste. Originally, the chair had a cane seat, as befits the period, but that is now lost.

The seat frame has an impressed mark 12 and the rear of the centre back splat is stamped in a similar style with 63. This suggests that the chair is from a long set, and part of an inventory from a grand house or an early government office. The latter is less likely, given the absence of Royal stamps.

The Tasmanian chair is delicately balanced and finely worked and displays a congruence with Sheraton’s finest aspirations for chair making. All of the decoration owes its origins to Hope – no other chair recorded has the fineness of detail and superior design, form and construction of this chair. It has been most finely crafted by a master chair maker; he was probably London trained because the chair has all the hallmarks of “city made” for “top end” clientele who appreciated exceptional work delicately achieved.

That this chair has survived at all is remarkable, given the relatively poor strength of cedar compared with mahogany so favoured by the English makers.

Thank you to Scammell Auction for providing this information. The carver and side chair are part of the Australiana Auction to be held on Monday evening 2nd July at 6pm