William and Mary Style Settee, England c.1890
A fantastic William and Mary style settee with a double crest rail and limed oak legs from England c.1890 now upholstered in a deep charcoal coloured linen. Please look at the bold architectural scale of this settee that was extremely fashionable at the court of William and Mary when they ruled England (1689-1702). As William III came from the House of Orange in Holland his ascension to the throne caused many artisans and designers of Dutch taste to move to England where they exerted a shift in interior decoration. This particular settee is notable for the double crest rail at the top of the back of the sofa. Please use the zoom feature on our website to see the unusual scroll of these crests as they possess a depth seen only when viewed from the side. Because the back of the sofa has a good rake the sofa enables anyone seated to be quite relaxed. The arms of the settee have a slight rolled edge profile and a slight front to back slant so they provide comfort when seated. The base of the seating surface is distinguished by an undulating line that extends across the entire front and seat and gives a luxurious decorative effect to the overall appearance. Please notice the elegant choice of antiqued silver nail heads that trim the edge of the seat to emphasize the movement of this line. The front and back legs of the settee have been highlighted by the use of a limed wash on the oak to create a delightful contrast with the linen upholstery. Originally the oak was tremendously dark as all oak was stained to a deep colour but when lighted in this fashion a more modern effect is achieved. The front legs are carved in a curious manner with a combination of both architectural motifs with the square section alternating with a ring turning while the entire leg stands upon an organic form that closely resembles a tassel. The beautiful variation in the finish from almost a pure white to a washed colour succeeds in differentiating the various sections of the carving. The two back legs are a simple square with a slight curve designed to provide support to the entire frame. The simplicity of these legs reflect the fact that the original late seventeenth originals were in rooms that were quite dark in terms of available light and being dark oak would merely have disappeared. It is the shape of the frame from the front that was considered of the greatest importance as seen here. This settee has been freshly upholstered in a striking deep charcoal linen with two separate seat cushions. The contrast between the dark colour of the fabric and the pale colour of the wooden frame succeeds in giving this piece a contemporary flavour that makes it irresistible for a modern interior.