Known as a cathèdre in France (“cathedra” in English), this tall armchair is also sometimes referred to as a chaire (meaning “pulpit”). Designed to be a throne style chair used by bishops, the chair was often placed in an elevated position and paired with an abat-voix, or sounding board.
Hand-carved in France during the 1800’s, the original finish has been bleached, revealing some fascinating grains of the chestnut wood. By design, a cathedre is very linear, but the ebeniste who crafted ours softened the appearance by giving the chair a high arching crest with several layers of cavetto and quarter round moldings. The seat back consists of four rectangular panels, with three aligned vertically and surrounded by thin molding that mirrors the shape of the crest. Both bottom corners have been canted above the fourth rectangular panel which runs horizontally.
Gently sloping arms that terminate in volutes above S-curve arm stumps provide added grace as well. The seat has a flip-top on thin iron hinges that open to reveal a generous sized storage compartment. A thick chamfered molding surrounds the base, which was crafted using round dowel construction on three rectangular panels.
A fascinating 19th century bleached chestnut cathedre that was originally used by bishops in a French church. The neutral color and gentle carvings allow the armchair to be paired with just about any style of design. Ideally suited for an entryway or hallway, the cathedre can be used anywhere single seating is needed.
CONDITION: Good antique condition commensurate to age and use. An old repair to the molding is visible, as well as minor traces of old wood worm and the original finish. Light rubs, scratches, and age separations.