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François Hervé (active 1781-96)

Open armchair 1790

Giltwood, with yellow silk covers | 102.5 x 60.5 x 53.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 481

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This set of four open armchairs were part of one of the Prince of Wales’s early furnishing schemes at Carlton House: the Chinese Drawing Room. The chairs’ decorative elements, such as the winding snakes and a Chinese figure, are early manifestations of George IV’s taste for chinoiserie. They were made by François Hervé, who was one of a band of émigré French craftsmen employed at Carlton House under the direction of the talented marchand-mercier, Dominique Daguerre and the British architect Henry Holland. These chairs are of extraordinary craftsmanship, the frames being hollowed out to provide an impression of delicacy, weightlessness, and exoticism.  The restrained French-inspired neo-classical interiors created at Carlton House before the end of the eighteenth century were renowned for their elegance and beauty.