François Hervé (active 1781-1796)
Open armchair 1790
Giltwood, with yellow silk covers | 102.5 x 60.5 x 53.5 cm | RCIN 481
A set of four open armchairs, en suite with with a pair of sofas, four bergères and six side chairs; upholstered in yellow silk, the framework carved and pierced with fret patterns; the rectangular back with canted top corners and seated chinaman cresting, the arm supports terminating in eagle heads; tapering legs entwined with serpents
The chairs are an extraordinary feat of engineering, the frames being hollowed out to provide an impression of delicacy, weightlessness and exoticism. They were important elements in one of the Prince of Wales's early furnishing schemes at Carlton House, the Chinese Drawing Room, designs for which were published by Thomas Sheraton in 1792. François Hervé was one of a band of émigré French craftsmen employed at Carlton House under the direction of the talented (French) marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre and the British architect Henry Holland. The restrained French-inspired neo-classical interiors created there before the end of the eighteenth-century were renowned for their elegance and chaste beauty.
Supplied by Francois Hervé for the Chinese Room Basement Floor, Carlton House in 1790 at a cost of £239 8s, the seated mandarin figures added by him in 1792; originally gilded by Sefferin Nelson for £90, upholstered by Robert Campbell
ProvenanceSupplied to George IV for Carlton House, 1790.
The chairs were sent to the Brighton Pavilion in 1819 and appear in Nash's drawings c.1824 of the Yellow Drawing Room/Music Room Gallery. In October 1838 they were repaired, re-gilt and the silk taken off and dyed.
The French émigré chair maker François Hervé was one of a number of highly specialised craftsmen employed in the early years of the creation of Carlton House. He is recorded at 32 John Street, close to Tottenham Court Road, as a cabinet-maker and chairmaker between 1781-96 and is recorded as working for the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Devonshire and Earl Spencer.
François Hervé (active 1781-1796) (furniture maker)
Robert Campbell (active 1754-93) (upholsterer)
- Physical properties