The harp surmounted by a crown that varied considerably both in size and shape, a date letter, and the maker's stamp, generally his initials, sometimes set in stars, are the only marks to be found in Dublin plate earlier than 1730, after which the figure of Britannia was added, and from 1809 to 1890, as elsewhere, the sovereign's head.
Cork also owned a Goldsmiths' Company of its own, incorporated eighteen years later than that of Dublin, the members of the guild stamping their work with a galleon 01 three-decked sailing vessel, a castle bearing a flag-staff, and their initial letters, which they generally enclosed in shields, adding now and then one or more stars or dots as a decoration.
Early in the eighteenth century it became usual to stamp the word " sterling " on Irish silver that was up to the standard of fineness and purity then demanded, a peculiarity that has hitherto not occurred elsewhere, and which serves a useful purpose in identification.
By Lilian Joy
Inexpensive - Best Kinds of Covering - The Revival of Horsehair
Sometimes the style of the chairs carries our thoughts back many a day to the time of Charles I. More frequently it does not take us further than to the days of that great art craftsman Chippendale, for chairs in his style with their pleasing lines and simple, restful carving are more liked than anything. One model in particular is greatly used, and, because a genuine thing of beauty, gives us a lasting pleasure that cannot be satiated. This design is called the Ophir, because it was found in one of the saloons of the ship which took our Sovereigns around the world.
"drop-in" seats also make for comfort, added to which they are a delight to the careful housewife, as they can be so easily taken out to be dusted and beaten. In fact, there are practically no cracks and crannies in this style of furniture to give harbourage to dust. Sometimes, to attain even greater comfort, the seats are made in a modern method with a "dip." With this, of course, it is impossible to have the wooden outer frame and movable seat. One large piece of leather covers the entire seat, and on this account makes the chair more costly. This leather is sometimes affixed around the edge by a band of leather secured by leather-covered metal studs, or it may be finished with a moulding, which is a fine metal tube leather-covered. The latter method is the stronger, and wears far better as the edges of the leather band are apt to rub. It is, however, considerably more expensive in the first place.
A good example of a chair in light oak in the modern style
A carved oak chair of the Stuart period. The back and seat are made of cane
Bartholomew & Fletcher
The choice of design will, it is perhaps unnecessary to remark, be largely influenced by the buyer's predilection for the particular style in which the whole room will be furnished to correspond. Where oak is the wood preferred, the selection must, of necessity, fall on designs of the e a r 1 i e r periods, or on the modern light oak, of which more anon. The chairs of the Stuart period are of two kinds - the high-backed chair with cane seat, and the leather-seated, low-backed chair with back supports and stretchers between the legs in the twisted "sugar candy" pattern. Either of these are suitable to use with either a refectory table or one of the Stuart withdrawing tables described in a previous article (page 2257). They are both exceedingly picturesque, and have ever proved favourite subjects for the artist's brush, as a survey of the walls of the Royal Academy any year will prove. They, of course, harmonise with the equally delightful old dressers that belong to the same period.
Next in chronological order come the graceful cabriole-legged chairs of the William and Mary and Queen Anne periods. These are full of character, and always seem to have an air of distinction reminiscent of the courtly belles and beaux of the days in which they first came into use. They are of walnut, the delightful soft browns of which make a strong appeal to many; indeed it is well worth while to cultivate an appreciation of beautiful woods for the pleasure that the contemplation of their fine markings will give. The graceful high backs of these chairs are innocent of carving, so that they are easy to keep clean. The next period was that of Chippendale and Sheraton, which, as has already been said, seem at the present day (1911) to be liked better than anything; and after the Chippendale came the early Victorian period, which left no record whatever in the annals of good furnishing. A few years ago, however, as a result of the movement instigated by William Morris, some very plain furniture on good lines, made of light oak, came to be produced. A sideboard after this manner can be simple and inexpensive, and the chairs are remarkably cheap, more especially those that are rush-seated. These rush-seated chairs do not give, as might be expected, a bare look to the room, provided that they have a warm tone of paper for a background. They wear for years, and have an additional advantage in being delightfully cool in the summer.
A typical Chippendale chair - a style which, with its pleasing lines and simple, restful carving, is more admired than any other
Another kind of chair that is very cheap, and also pretty if the room is furnished in the cottage style to match, is the Windsor kitchen chair. The reproductions of the small chairs only cost 6s. 6d., and the arm-chairs, one of which should be placed at each end of the table, may be obtained at a guinea each, so that it will be seen that this is one of the least expensive ways possible of fitting up a dining-room. Such chairs never entail any expense in the way of re-covering seats.
With regard to this question of the best kind of seat-covering, the most costly is morocco, but, of course, it both wears well and looks handsome. Then comes pigskin, which is growing in popularity. Cow-hide is a cheaper substitute that is frequently employed. Owing to the fact, however, that it is in keeping with the eighteenth century models that are so prevalent, horsehair is more used than anything else - not the dark-coloured variety that one associates unpleasantly with seaside apartments, but a similar thing in delightful shades of colour, especially green, which wears as well as leather.
It will cost about 18s. 6d. to cover a chair in morocco, whereas horsehair of a good quality will not cost more than half a guinea.
Copy of an old Windsor wheel-backed chair.
These are very inexpensive yet very picturesque in a dining-room furnished in cottage style
A Jacobean chair reproduced from a fine old original and upholstered in antique velvet
Photos, Bartholomew & Fletcher