Navigation 

Royal Furniture
  Ancient furniture
  The Middle Ages
    From A.D. 476 to 1453
    Chair of St. Peter
    Charlemagne
    Scandinavian work
    Anglo-Saxon work
    Influence of Civilisation
    Coronation Chair
      Coronation Chair
      Chair in the Vestry
      St. Marys Hall chair
      English Monastery Chair
    Penshurst Place
    Furniture in France
    Ordinary Furniture
    German work
    French Gothic
    English Gothic
  The Renaissance
  Jacobean Furniture
  Eastern Furniture
  Rooms & Decoration
  French furniture
  Chippenbale
  1800-1850
  1851-1899
  Laura Ashley Furniture
  Outdoor Furniture

The Coronation Chair



To the end of the thirteenth century belongs the Coronation Chair made for King Edward I., 1296-1300, and now in Westminster Abbey. This historic relic is of oak, and the woodcut on the opposite page gives an idea of the design and decorative carving. It is said that the pinnacles on each side of the gabled back were formerly surmounted by two leopards, of which only small portions remain. The famous Coronation Stone, which according to ancient legend, is the identical one on which the patriarch Jacob rested his head at Bethel, when " he tarried there all night because the sun was set, and he took of the stones of that place and put them up for his pillows" (Gen. xxviii.), can be seen through the quatrefoil openings under the seat (Those who would read a very interesting account of the history of this stone are referred to the late Dean Stanley's "Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey.").

The carved lions which support the Coronation Chair are not original, but modern work; and were re-gilt in honour of the Jubilee of Her Majesty in 1887, when the chair was last used. The rest of the chair now shews the natural colour of the oak, except the arms, which have a slight padding on them. The wood was, however, formerly covered with a coating of plaster, gilded over, and it is probably due to this protection that it is now in such excellent preservation.

Standing by its side in Henry III.'s Chapel in Westminster Abbey is another chair, similar, but lacking the trefoil Gothic arches, which are carved on the sides of the original chair; this was made for and used by Mary, daughter of James II. and wife of William III., on the occasion of their double coronation. Mr. Hungerford Pollen has given us a long description of this chair, with quotations from the different historical notices which have appeared concerning it. The following is an extract which he has taken from an old writer: -

"It appears that the King intended, in the first instance, to make the Coronation Chair in bronze, and that Eldam, the King's workman, had actually begun it. Indeed, some parts were even finished, and tools bought for the clearing up of the casting. However, the King changed his mind, and we have accordingly loos, paid for a chair in wood, made after the same pattern as the one which was to be cast in copper; also 13s. 4d. for carving, painting, and gilding two small leopards in wood, which were delivered to Master Walter, the King's painter, to be placed upon and on either side of the chair made by him. The wardrobe account of 29th Ed. I. shows that Master Walter was paid £1 19s. 7d. 'for making a step at the foot of the new chair in which the Scottish stone is placed; and for the wages of the carpenters and of the painters, and for colours and gold employed, and for the making a covering to cover the said chair,'"

In 1328, June 1, there was a royal writ ordering the abbot to deliver up the stone to the Sheriff of London, to be carried to the Queen-Mother; however, it was not sent. The chair has been used upon the occasion of every coronation since that time, except in the case of Mary, who is said to have used a chair specially sent by the Pope for the occasion.

The above drawing of a chair in York Minster, and the two more throne-like seats on a full-page illustration, will serve to shew the best kind of ornamental Ecclesiastical furniture of the fourteenth century. In the choir of Canterbury Cathedral there is a chair which has played its part in history, and, although earlier than the above, it may be conveniently mentioned here. This is the Archbishop's throne, and it is also called the chair of St. Augustine. According to legend, the Saxon kings were crowned thereon, but it is probably not earlier than the thirteenth century. It is an excellent piece of stonework, with a shaped back and arms, relieved from being quite plain by the back and sides being panelled with a carved moulding.





















Copyright 2009-2010 by http://royalfurniture.org