Carved Walnut Chairs With Leather Covers. Milan, Circa 1750

Quattro sedie di noce ricoperte con cuoio
Furnishings


Four carved walnut chairs with leather covers
Milan, circa 1750


They measure: 39.37” high – 18.30” to the seat; 21.65” deep x 19.29”
(100 cm high – 46.5 cm to the seat; 55 cm deep x 49 cm)

State of conservation:
– the leather covers are not original;
– some signs of use, especially on leather covers;
– the
rocailles at the height of the backrests have lost part of the carved elements.

 

The four walnut chairs have a mixtilinear structure adorned with rocaille relief carvings; the legs are shaped and end with a curl. The backs and seats are padded and covered with impressed leather with figures and cartouche decorations from later production.

Around the mid-eighteenth century in Milan it was very popular to cover seats with impressed leather. Mutton or cowhide was used which, suitably tanned, was then worked with heated irons (hot decoration) or with carved wooden molds (cold decoration). These were impressed on the leather until obtaining a darker brown color. Our group of chairs is covered with cold-stamped cowhide.
This type of decoration, used systematically in Lombardy, was also present in other Italian regions (Stanislao Petri, Per le industrie dell’arte. Pizzi e Cuoi bolognesi, Rassegna d’Arte Antica e Moderna, 1916, IV, giugno, p. 129).

For a comparison with works similar in form, albeit lacquered and without original covers, see the chairs decorated with rocaille motifs and scrolls of acanthus leaves from the Alessandro Durini Legacy 1939, now kept in the Civic Museums of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan (see Enrico Colle, Museo d’Arti Applicate. Mobili e intagli lignei Milano, Milano 1996, pp. 261-262, n. 402).

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari

Bibliography:

S. Petri, Per le industrie dell’arte. Pizzi e Cuoi bolognesi, Rassegna d’Arte Antica e Moderna, 1916, IV, giugno.
E. Colle, Museo d’Arti Applicate. Mobili e intagli lignei Milano, Milano 1996.
C. Alberici, Il Mobile Lombardo, Milano 1969, pp. 129-131.
L. Bandera Gregori, Il mobile lombardo tra Barocco e Rococò in Settecento lombardo (catalogo della mostra, Milano 1 Febbraio- 28 aprile 1991), fig. V.20 dove è pubblicata una poltrona che presenta varie analogie con le nostre sedie.
A. Contadini, «Cuoridoro»: Tecnica e decorazione di cuoi dorati veneziani e italiani con influssi islamici, in “Atti del Primo Simposio Internazionale sull’Arte Veneziana e Islamica” (a cura di E. J. Grube), Venezia, Ateneo Veneto 9-12 dicembre 1986, dove viene descritta la storia dei decoratori di cuoi a Venezia e alcune fasi di realizzazione.
A. Capitanio, Leather as temporary furniture, in Rivista dell’Osservatario per le arti decorative in Italia (OADI) n. 9 del giugno 2014, dove tra l’altro si tratta della diffusione della lavorazione del cuoio nelle città italiane.

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