Pair of Edward Welby Pugin Oak ‘Granville’ Side Chairs, circa 1875, heavy carved oak seat with arched A-frame supports with four pierced holes, peg joint cross rail with flying curved back rest on angled supports, two brass ball feet on the front legs. 20½“ (back slate width) x 33” (high) x 18” (seat height.) Some signs of wear and age.
Edward Welby Pugin (1834-1875), is the son of one of the most famous British architects, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who, following in his father's footsteps was keenly interested truth to materials and truth of construction, for which this design of the Granville Chair is praised most highly by many.
There are a few variations of this chair due to the use of different woods and inlays or plugs, as well as differing designs, some having five or four holes in the side panels under the seats. The largest number of extant chairs have four holes, allowing the brass feet to be attached.
E. W. Pugin had created numerous pieces of furniture for the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate project including the Granville chair, (the original design, undated, can be found at Kew Public Records Office inscribed ‘front elevation of chair quarter real size Designed by E. Welby Pugin.’)
From recent research by Paul A. Shutler, (Decorative Art Society Journal, 42 – 2018, pg. 8-21.) it appears that E.W. Pugin was dealing with some five furniture makers both in Ramsgate and London, for the construction of the furniture. The pitch pine furniture being made by Mitchell & Co, with Messrs J. W. & M. Jarvis making the gothic oak chairs. Two other London companies are also associated with pieces, namely, Cox and Sons and C. & R. Light.
The Granville chair design, at the time referred to as ‘the greatest novelty of the season’ has recently increasing become recognized as the archetypal gothic chair and can be seen in many major museum all over the world, as well as a great many important private decorative art collections.
A similar example made of stained oak, ebony and brass is found in The Metropolitan Museum, acc. no. 1993.134.