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White, Allom & Company

Pair of throne chairs, used by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and King Charles III and Queen Camilla 1937 - 2023

Wood, velvet and silk thread embroidery | 130.7 x 84.0 x 74.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 2604

Garter Throne Room, Windsor Castle

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  • A pair of throne chairs in the form of X-frame armchairs in early sixteenth century style covered in red velvet, much worn; underside of back and seat decorated with gold fringing. Both with the centre of the X frame embroidered with the white rose of York, reflecting the title of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth prior to their accession and both reappliqued for King Charles III and Queen Camilla. One chair embroidered with the royal coat of arms (that of King George VI being reused by King Charles III) or that of his consort. 
    Provenance

    Made for the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, 12 May 1937. Used by the King with the accompanying footstool (RCIN 2605.1) during the Homage. The Queen, remaining seated in her Chair of Estate (RCIN 2606.2) during this time, sat on her throne chair with accompanying footstool (RCIN 2605.2) after her Anointing and Crowning, her chair set two steps lower on the dais than the Kings'.

    Their design replicates the style of chair made for the coronations of Charles II and James II in the seventeenth century, including the surviving X-shape chair made for Archbishop Juxon's use at the coronation of Charles II (Victoria and Albert Museum W.12:1, 2-1928), and the throne chairs made for the 1911 coronation of King George V and Queen Mary. For that earlier coronation, the chair of state at Knole in Kent (National Trust inventory 129463) was loaned by Lord Sackville to the Office of Works for design inspiration, and these chairs closely follow the shape of their predecessors (RCIN 29952.1 and .2). The X-shape of the legs is reminiscent of folding stools of the Tudor period. In the seventeenth century, the X-shape remained a decorative feature, and the arms and back were added for comfort.

    The chairs were made by the London furniture maker and interior decorators, White, Allom & Company, founded by Sir Charles Allom in 1902. The firm specialised in period interior decoration and reproductions of historic furniture. This company also made the Chairs of Estate for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1953 (RCIN . The choice for a historic English design and a British manufacturer was intentional. The purpose was to establish a connection between the new Sovereign and his ancestry, and to emphasize the quality of British craftsmanship.
     
    Until King George V's and Queen Mary's Coronation in 1911 it had been customary to sell the chairs and other furnishings made specifically for the occasion to those who attended the event.

    Reupholstered for the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey, 6 May 2023. The King's coat of arms, remaining the same, was reappliqued; that of The Queen's newly made. Subsequently displayed at Westminster Abbey for the week after the coronation.

  • Medium and techniques

    Wood, velvet and silk thread embroidery

    Measurements

    130.7 x 84.0 x 74.0 cm (whole object)

  • Place of Production

    England


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