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Upholstered Corner Chair with Glass Ball Feet

Attributed to Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1923) for Louis C. Tiffany & Co.
New York c. 1881-1883

With its rivet-like brass studs, its amazing and amusing carved finials and its bold glass ball and carved wooden claw feet, this corner or “roundabout” chair is attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany, who designed furniture and interiors beginning about 1878. The similarity of its exuberantly carved feet and brass stud decoration to furnishings done by Tiffany for the Veteran’s Room at New York’s Seventh Regiment Armory – as well as to various pieces designed by him for Rochester’s William S. Kimball House in 1881 – would appear to date the present chair to that approximate date. An inlaid, white holly armchair which is now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is attributed by them to Tiffany and thought to date c. 1883, also has distinctive glass ball feet. Slightly later furniture designed by Tiffany, working with his friend and colleague Samuel Colman (1832-1920) in 1890-91 for the Henry O. Havemeyer House, also has related detailing, such as the tapering clustered fascia-like supports below the finials. Those pieces, however, generally have a more delicate, less robust profile than this unique example. While both of the amusing carved finials on this roundabout chair feature a bear grasping a pumpkin, it is interesting to note each is differently ornamented.

Two other seating pieces from the suite that included this chair are known, and have the same distinctive foliate carved paw and glass ball feet. One of these is a side chair (see #448-I-CH), which also has individualized finials (of an egret and a toad), while the other is a large armchair featuring unusual owls perched atop its back. The later detail would appear to match the stair newel post carvings on the Namouna, a yacht designed by L. C. Tiffany in 1881.