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S! What can you tell me about these two ribbon back chairs?

Hi Robert S! What can...
Hi Robert S! What can you tell me about these two ribbon back chairs? https://imgur.com/a/0z3XR
I've seen a couple very similar ones online. I've added pics of those at the end. There are also similar ones with the apron below the upholstered seat without the additional ribbons and only a traditional "flat" apron (but couldn't find a pic off hand to show you). The chairs without the ribbon aprons usually have chunkier legs and, therefore, look a lot newer and mass-produced. As you can see, my chairs are slightly different than the two similar ones I included. The others have a larger and more squared back. They also don't have to same carving details in the feet, knees and inside the ribbons. I included a pic of the underneath showing how someone recovered the underside with, first red upholstery fabric (not visible in my pics - I imagine to try to lift the sagging springs) and then recovered with the black fabric using staples. (The original has the older tacks.) I like my chairs better because of the more detailed carving and daintier backs. And, as a general observation, I always like my stuff better than comparable pieces :) So I'm wondering if mine are the original (older, old-worldlier and European) version that were later copied. The upholstery is vinyl (but nice). I don't plan to refinish, restore or touch up mine. I like them this way. Although I will clean them up a little more and get a few paint drips off.
I've seen them called ribbon back chairs and, the ones with the orange leather called pretzel back, as well as loop back chairs. Can you help me ID the age, country of origin and the various design features? Thanks much!
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2/18/2018
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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,464
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Hi Janney,

Just letting you know I got your latest chairs. These are very pretty. I have one quite similar, but not as old as these.

I'll have an answer for you as soon as I can.

Many thanks,
Robert.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks Robert.

These are a beautiful pair of chairs. Their elegant sinuous lines are completely pleasing and some of the nicest ones you've asked me about. This 'pretzel' or interwoven loop back design is Italian. It's an 18th century rococo form that roughly coincides with the Louis XV to Louis XVI transition when cabriole lags and those feet with the escargot (lumaca) toes were all the rage.

It's hard to tell how old these are exactly but they're at least early 20th century if not late 19th. The 'broom knock' has almost completely removed the paint which would attest for this.

You're absolutely right to keep them in this lovely unrestored condition, they are perfect the way they are.

  • A pair of antique painted Italian side chairs, circa 1890 - 1920 in the rococo style of the mid-1700s, each with a double-looped molded back, interweaving to form a figure-of-eight splat, joining a blue vinyl covered overstuffed seat, the side and front rails faced with interwoven twin strands of carved molding, continuous with the tops of cabriole legs terminating in escargot toes. All exposed wood still retaining its original painted finish.

As for value, as usual prices are all over the place as so few know exactly what they have.

This set of six of your chairs sold at auction seven years ago for the paltry sum of $100, though the set was given an auction estimate of $500 which even at that is way on the low side.

At the other end of the scale, this set of six, of slightly different design and complete with two 'carvers' sold at auction for $3,200. which just goes to show what a ridiculous lottery the auction market can be.

Conservatively, yours would be in the $150 - $250 (each) category as an auction range. Full retail/replacement/insurance: $500 (each).

Hope this is helpful.

Best wishes,
Robert.

Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 6,464
Experience: Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you Robert! This is very helpful. And yes, these are my new favorite chairs! I always appreciate your help in describing the various design features. It seems like most are calling them French, but I like Italian. I'm glad I asked you about them.
Until next time, be well and don't work too hard.

Thanks. I forgot to mention, my own one, an armchair version, but a more recent example than yours, has "Made in Italy" helpfully stamped on the underside of the seat rail.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Well that certainly is helpful. I've only once found chairs stamped Made in France in all my escapades. Here are some pics, https://imgur.com/a/QbHBk. They were lovely, but I didn't feel like recovering them (big mistake I think). Which makes me question how so many dealers seem to attribute their furniture to France willy nilly. The only furniture marked Made in Italy is the Florentine paper machier type and the brass and glass with the Made in Italy small sticker. It's always nice to find the Italy (or France) mark.
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