Produced in Spain during the late Renaissance period (1600’s), this pair of large oak and leather armchairs are sometimes referred to as “Portuguese type”. This chair was named this because the style is thought to have originated in in Portugal. Chairs in this vein have leather backs and seats that are affixed via brass nailheads, and there are also usually two or three brass finials on the shoulders and/or the top of the chair backs. However, the shaped backs of these chairs are distinctly Spanish; the original Portuguese chair had plain rectangular backs.
These types of Spanish armchairs are typically tooled, which means that the leather has a decorative element cut into it. The detail of the tooling is amazing as there are numerous designs in the back and seat. Under the arch shaped top of the chair back, there is a vector scroll of small circles inset with eight pointed stars. Beneath this is guilloche ornamentation that runs along the entire border of the chair back. There is also another layer of circles with stars inside them that follow the braid-like guilloche.
The focal point of the chair backs is a large galero coat of arms. A galero is a wide-brimmed hat with tassles that have been worn by bishops of the Catholic church since the 13th century. Each coat of arms is always unique to a bishop, meaning that these chairs might have been commissioned for a member of the clergy. The coat of arms depicted here has a galero with two tassels, which frame a round cartouche with five leaves or branches. The entire coat of arms is encircled by a decorative banner of more circled stars.
The rest of the decoration contains various elements, such as scrolling rinceaux of acanthus leaves with birds perched on branches and foliate masks. The seat of the chair has very similar decorative patterns, with the exception of the galero coat of arms.
The chairs have turned legs with a series of alternating blocks rounded sections, while the front is an elaborately carved rising and intertwining arch of scrolls. The gently down-curving arms of each chair extend to the end of the seat and terminate in beautifully worn scrolls.
These large carved oak and leather Spanish armchairs would be fantastic in a sitting room, library, or living room.
CONDITION: Good overall antique condition. Missing a few of the brass nailheads. Small cracks to the leather and some losses to legs as seen in photos.