This unique Chinese Chippendale style side chair made of Cuban mahogany was part of a set that once graced the halls of Westwood Park,
the seat of the Packington family in Worcestershire England. In 1896 the property was acquired by the 1st Baron Doverdale. Records suggest that the 2nd Baron Doverdale (1872-1935) and his American wife were the last owners of this chair before it came into the collection of Irwin Untermyer, an American attorney. Untermeyer collected European decorative art. The motifs blend Asian and Western values. Plum blossoms on the crest rail represent long life during the winter season in Chinese culture, and the oak and acorn swags are traditional English ornamentations.
Hammond-Harwood House Museum Trustee Marvin Ross convinced his friend Irwin Untermyer to donate this piece in the winter of 1951 and the chair came to the museum in 1952. The Furnishings Report from November 10, 1952 noted:
“Judge Irwin Untermyer gave us a very handsome English carved Chippendale side chair. Untermyer gave one set to the Victoria and Albert Museum and two of the same set to the Metropolitan Museum. I feel we owe all of Judge Untermyer’s beautiful and rare gifts to Mr. Marvin C. Ross and we are most grateful.”
Ross was a curator, author, and Monuments Man during World War II. To read more about Ross and his endeavors visit Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art.
English c. 1745
Medium: Cuban mahogany, oak framer
F95 1952 Gift by Judge Irwin Untermyer