Chair #32, Giles Grendey Chairs, c.1735–45

Giles Grendey

Armchair, c.1735–45

Walnut with original needlework

The arms of the chair terminate with carved lion’s heads. This chair is attributed to Giles Grendey and was formerly in the collection of Percival D. Griffiths (1862–1937).


Adam Bowett Catalogue (19/08/2012)


A walnut armchair, c.1735. The waisted and scrolled back has a shell- carved crest rail and shaped baluster splat, between out curved arms with lion’s head terminals; the slip seat is covered with eighteenth-century floral needle work, on compassed rails raised on shell-and- bell flower carved cabriole legs ending in paw feet with slender ogee back legs.


H: 40 ½ ” (103cm) Seat height: 17 ¼ ” (44cm) W: 30 ½” (78cm) D: 24“ (61cm).


Walnut and beech


The back posts are solid walnut, thicknessed to emphasize the curves and faced above the seat with figured veneer. The top rail is solid walnut and carved on its forward face; it is mortised onto the rear posts and secured with single small peg each side. The splat is solid walnut and pieced out at either side to add width, veneered on its forward face and tenoned into the top rail and into the shoe. The shoe is solid walnut, veneered in front and made separately from the back rail proper. The arms are housed into the back post and secured with a plugged screw and they are mortised onto the arm supports but not pinned; the lower end of the arm support is half lapped, screwed and plugged into the side rails. The side and front seat rails are beech with an applied cross-grained walnut ovolo moulding and veneered on the outer face with figured walnut. The side rails are tenoned into the back posts and secured with a single peg, and the tenon is extended by means of added blocks below the rail with a decorative shaped facing. There are also shaped blocks at the junction between the back rail and the rear legs. The rails are tenoned into the tops of the front legs. The legs are a solid walnut, the knee flanked by shaped brackets with further reinforcement blocks behind.

Marks or stamps

The inside rear of the shoe is marked XIII


Basically sound. Some filled patches at top left back of splat and stress cracks to front top of splat at junction with crest rail. Repair to left arm at junction with left upright. Repairs and replacement to ovolo mould on seat, and historic worm damage to seat rails. Triangular reinforcement blocks screwed into rear corners of seat, large curved reinforcements screwed to front corners of seat. Replaced section of wood inserted in centre of front seat rail probably due to worm damage. Some damage to veneers top of left leg, some replacement blocks behind ditto, similar damage to top of right leg and replacements to blocks behind. All four feet fitted with domed gliders. Seat not accessible for examination as completely enclosed by upholstery.

Additional remarks

The similarities in design and detail between this chair and the labeled Grendy chair (14) are so close as to suggest that it came from the Grendy workshop, however, there are also numerous points of difference which raise questions not only about authorship but also about workshop practices and organization.


W. Symonds, English Furniture Charles II to George II, 1929, p. 149, fig. 95.
An identical arms chair sold form collection of Lady Helen Rose Dewar, Christie’s London 28th March 1935, lot 85.

Another from Herbert Rothbarth, sold Christie’s London, 26th May 1960, lot 26.

One of these chairs was subsequently in the collection of Ambrose Clark, New York, and sold Christie’s, New York 10-11th August 1982, lot 431.

An identical one sold from James Donahue Collection, Park-Bernet galleries, New York 2-4th November 1967, lot 574.

Another sold by R. Strauss Polpier, Phillips London, 30th May 19991, lot 42, Sold to G. Randall.


Percival D. Griffiths, Sold Christie’s London 10th may 1939, lot 180 to Mr. R. A. Lee.

Dr. Frank Crozer Knowles, Sold Christie’s New York 22nd October 1988, lot 243.

Purchased from Vernay & Jussel, New York, February 1990