Pounds 135 chairs could fetch Pounds 20,000

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The Independent Online
AUCTIONEERS believe they have discovered a pair of 18th-century armchairs designed by Thomas Chippendale for David Garrick, the most famous actor-manager of his day. If Halls Fine Art Auctions of Shrewsbury are right, armchairs bought for pounds 135 in the Fifties could sell for pounds 20,000 or more on 3 September.

Although there is no conclusive documentary evidence, they relate closely to two bergere armchairs from the Garrick suite - in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and Bradford Museums.

Robert Miller, fine art valuer of Halls, said: 'By a comparison with these chairs, the pair at Halls appear to be genuine.' He said that apart from being stylistically identical, they also bear the 'glue cramp notches' used by Chippendale's workshop to glue frames together.

The chairs were probably made in 1772. Garrick ordered them when he moved to the new London terrace development called the Adelphi, built by Robert and James Adam and demolished in 1936.

Chippendale's accounts show that in 1768, 30 cartloads of furniture were moved from Garrick's previous residence in Southampton Street to premises in St Martin's Lane for cleaning and repair.

As the Midlands couple who bought the armchairs at a London dealer have no living relatives, the money raised will go to their estate.

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