While it is expected that many people have their monograms, names or other personal devices on stationery, towels, and sometimes porcelain, having personalized furniture is going several steps further.  There are examples of chairs with coats-of-arms carved into the crest rail, and side chairs from New York of ca 1742 with Robert and Margaret Beekman Livingston’s monogram as the pierced back splat, I cannot think of an earlier chair with the unusual solution used on the back of this chair. Made for Nicholas Leke who was the fourth Earl of Scarsdale, the chair is one of a large suite, comprising twelve such chairs, two settees and two pedestals all of which have the unusual solution of verre eglomisé –or reverse-painted- armorials on the glazed piece set into the back splat in the case of the chairs and settees and on the pedestals. They were probably supplied to him shortly after he commissioned a new house to be built incorporating elements from a previous house from the architect Francis Smith in 1724.  As the fourth Earl died in 1736, this gives quite a narrow timeframe for them to have been made. Given that the chairs have his specific armorials, which involve both sides of family history when marriages took place, we are able to know for whom they were made.
Sadly the Derbyshire house, in the early Georgian classical style of symmetry and proportion reflected in these chairs, fell into neglect by the early twentieth century and the estate and its contents were auctioned off in 1919. I suspect that the Kanes, the donors of this chair, purchased it-along with another pair and a pedestal that they owned now at the Metropolitan Museum- either from that sale or from a dealer who would have bought at that sale. Everything worth salvaging, from room paneling, some of which found its way into American interiors and museums- to exterior elements was carted off the estate in 1919. The house is now a protected ruin, but we have a piece of its former glory that would have complemented the woodwork of the house, to see how architecture and furnishings also connected with other decorative techniques.

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