Chair #60, Gothic Revival Chairs, c.1840–80

William Burges

Chair, c.1875

Ash, painted and silvered, now with late 20th-century linen velvet

This model of a chair was originally designed by William Burges for his offices in Buckingham street, London, and later made for his home, tower house, Holland Park, London.


Adam Bowett Catalogue (19/08/2012)


A turned chair, c.1875, the frame painted red with black-lined gold and silver bands. The backs have broad, arched toprails with a close-nailed (upholstery to be decided) pad, over a narrow arched mid-rail, between turned ball finials to the backposts, the seats are covered with (upholstery to be decided), on turned legs joined by single stretchers back and front, with paired side stretchers.


H: 34” (86.5 cm) Seat height: 18 1/2” (47cm) W: 16 1/2 ” ( 42cm) D: 16 ¼” (41cm)

Designer / Maker:

Designed by William Burges.


Various woods – painted finish prevents more accurate identification, upholstery materials

Dating criteria

This model was first made for Burges’s offices in Buckingham Street, and then used for his own house at Tower House, begun in 1875.


The chair employs traditional methods of turned chair construction; however, the backs posts are not round in section but faceted ovals, which suggests the use of a draw knife to shape them. This was necessary because the back legs are slightly curved, and therefore cannot be turned on a conventional lathe. The upper and lower back rails are tenoned into the back posts. The seat frame is made as a unit, with four rectangular-section rails mortised and tenoned together. At the front corners the frame sits on top of the legs which are dowelled up into it. At the rear the frame is housed in notches cut out of the back posts. The stretchers are turned and housed in round sockets in the front and back legs.


Frame sound except for loose joint of R front leg to seat; split to right front foot. Paint substantially original, but with repainting and in-filling. Painted surfaces darkened by dirt and decayed top varnish. Upholstery fitted 2013.


Paul Reeves 11/06/2003