This post is about two Arts and Crafts oak chairs with Walter Crane tiles, bought for ten shillings (50p), with an intriguing story to tell. My mother, who loved auctions, got them from Mr Little’s Salerooms in Barnard Castle, an attractive upper Teesdale market town.
The first History chair
They were, she explained, hall chairs, you weren’t meant to sit on them. In fact, they are excruciatingly uncomfortable, not to mention unsafe. I wouldn’t trust the front right leg of one of them (see photo above) and the other creaks ominously. But I like them, and I’m a fan of Walter Crane (1845-1915), an eminent artist who collaborated with William Morris. The tiles say a lot about late Victorian England and what people thought was important about English history. (And it’s definitely English history, as opposed to British.)
Julius Caesar tile by Walter Crane