Fig. 254 shows the Commonwealth simplicity carried into the early Restoration years, the vase-shaped balusters suggesting this date. The top is constructed of six boards, fixed to the heavy runners. It was probably rectangular in form, originally, and was cut to its present circular shape at a considerably later date. The detail of the uniting of the front and back legs with turned rails, and the tieing with a turned stretcher from their centres, precludes this chair-table from being referred to a date prior to 1660, in spite of its Cromwellian simplicity.
The Lancashire settle is shown in Fig. 255. The distinguishing features are the "fielding," or chamfering of the back panels, the flat modelled character of the carving, the central leg, halved into its stretcher-rail below and into the seat apron above, and the arms cut from thin oak, little more than one inch in thickness. There is no central leg at the back. The framing has a small inlaid stringing of ebony and holly, herring-boned. The running guilloche pattern of the top rail of the back is ingeniously designed. The central panel, with its initials " A.W.," is original.
Fig. 259. Oak Chairs.
Fig. 260. Date about 1660. Victoria and Albert Museum.
Fig. 256 is the Essex type of settle-chest with hinged seat, and is interesting as showing the persistence of the late seventeenth-century models. It is dated 1704, and there is no reason to suppose that this panel has been inserted at a later date. The carving " I (? J) C " and the date, has every appearance of being of the same age as the piece itself, and there are no indications, either at the front or the back, of the panel being added, nor of the surface being dubbed flat and re-carved. The panel is fixed in grooves in the framing, with the mouldings applied, but these only lie flat on the panel, and do not fix it in any way. This settle-chest must be regarded as showing the persistence of type, such as one finds in the instance of the thirty-hour, pull-up, long-case clocks which were made, in country districts, upwards of a century after the fashion of the pull-up clock had been superseded, by the key winding from holes in the dial-face.
Fig. 262. Oak Chairs. - Height, 3 ft. 3 ins.; width, I ft. 7 ins.; depth, I ft. 4 ins. Height, 3 ft. 1 in.; width, 1 ft. 7 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 4 ins. - Date about 1660. H. Clifford Smith, Esq.
Fig. 264. Oak Chair. - Yorkshire Type (rare).
Fig. 263. Oak Chair. - Yorkshire Type. - Height, 3 ft. 1 1/2 ins.; width, 1 ft. 7 ins.; depth, 1 ft. 4 ins. - Date about 1660. - H. Clifford Smith, Esq.
The circular-seated chair, Fig. 257, has every appearance of being of English make, but is, obviously, copied from the model of the Dutch ' Burgomaster's " chair, examples of which are not unusual in Holland. It bears the date, 1640, which is very early for a piece of this kind made in England. There is no doubt that, with the considerable Dutch settlement which took place in Norfolk and Suffolk during the latter half of the seventeenth century, not only were pieces from Holland imported, but also many were constructed, from English timber, by workmen from the Low Countries. It is exceptional to find caning in seats and back-panels as early as the reign of Charles I. These circular chairs are not unknown in England, but the greater number are so obviously of foreign handiwork, that they can be summarily dismissed as such. In some examples, however, woods, such as yew, pear, apple and almond are used, which indicate, almost beyond question, that they were made in this country. They are generally described as Welsh, but there is no evidence for such locality of origin. It is safer to assume that they are of East Anglian make, copied from the Dutch models which, we know, were imported into Ipswich and Norwich. Whether this example is spuriously dated, or no, is open to question. Judging from its style, and its English origin, a date between 1670 and 1690 would be more probable. The actual figures are in the numeral characters of this period.
Fig. 266. Oak Chair. - Date about 1660-70. - Capt. The Hon. Richard Legh.
Fig. 265. Oak Chair. - Date about 1660. - Messrs. Gregory and Co.
The Yorkshire chair of the later seventeenth century is unmistakable. It is also the first of the open-back type, when cross-railing between the back uprights is adopted instead of the earlier framing. These chairs are generally constructed from oak, with either turned pendants, as in Figs. 258 and 260, of bog oak or stained fruit-wood, or balusters of yew, cherry or pear, as in Fig. 259. Eight examples are shown here which illustrate the usual Yorkshire patterns. The pair of chairs, Figs. 261 and 262, are of identical pattern to Fig. 260, but have lost the turned pendants under the cross-rails of the back. They show also the slight difference in size between the two chairs of a pair which has already been referred to in this chapter. The seats are grooved into their rails, and sunk to hold a thin squab-cushion. Fig. 263 is unusual in having split balusters glued to the faces of the back legs above the seat. The projection of the top squares of the front legs, finished in turned buttons, is a detail general in walnut Restoration chairs, but unusual in those of Yorkshire origin in oak. Fig. 264 is much the rarest type of chair of this district, in character strongly resembling the early sixteenth-century examples of Northern France, from whence this model was probably inspired. This chair is in walnut, which still further emphasises its foreign appearance. Fig. 265 is of the usual kind, another version of Fig. 260, exceptional only in its bobbin-turning.