Chairs as we know them today, originated in the Middle Ages when kings and nobility used throne-sized foldable seats while traveling. Over time, the popularity of these high-backed seats spread, with chairs being owned by members of the classes beneath the aristocracy. During the reign of Louis XIII, in the 1600s, armrests and padded seats/backs were added to chairs, becoming fauteuils. The most renowned type of fauteuils are the Os de Mouton, or mutton bone, chairs, named for the highly shaped legs which are said to resemble the legs of lamb.
Our Louis XIII style pair of os de mouton armchairs were carved in walnut, circa 1900. True to Louis XIII style chairs, the chairbacks and seats have been covered in tapestry, in this case a foliate landscape featuring yellow, green, blue, and red vegetation. The fabric has been affixed to each chair by brass rosettes.
The rigidity of the large seatback is offset by the curvaceous arms and sinuous legs/stretcher, which have all been carved by hand. The arms have stylized holly leaves at the apex before sloping downwards gently with shallow recessed ornamentation. The slope terminates in a volute scroll that is adorned with a large acanthus leaf. The grooved motif continues throughout the wood frame, running down the scrolled arm stumps, as well as the legs and stretchers. The legs sit on small pad feet, which are sometimes referred to as “Dutch feet”.
Os de Mouton chairs have a shape that is timeless and elegant, making them versatile. They can be used as dining chairs for the ends of the table or used as occasional chairs in a living room. Our pair of walnut armchairs can be used in a variety of interior styles and color schemes.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including minor nicks and rubs.