C1815 Italian Empire Lacca Povera Armchair

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This elegant and comfortable armchair is Northern Italian, and is mortise, tenon and pegged construction. There are later 19th century corner blocks. The tablet back shape is derived from chairs of antiquity, and there is a nod to sabre legs.. The decoration with birds in a Chinoiserie style is a relic form the Rococo period. Italy was less concerned than most countries with design purity and more focused on charm and frivolity.

Lacca Povera is an ancient technique in which a painted surface has engravings glued with fish glue to the surface. The prints are either hand painted before application or after, when they are already in place on the furniture. Then the brightly painted surface was given many coats of varnish or clear lacquer. Sometimes this entire process was done by professionals, and sometimes it was done by Ladies-of-Quality, as a hobby, with professional assistance in some of the various stages.

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