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  • image XF295
Plain chair, one of a set including XF174, XF197, XF293 and XF295, by John Gee (fl.1779-1824), London, late eighteenth century, beech grained in imitation of mahogany. ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photograph: Hugh Kelly.

Plain chair by John Gee (fl.1779-1824), London, late eighteenth century

Beech grained in imitation of mahogany

Height: 88cm
Width: 46.5cm
Depth: 33.5cm

Museum number: XF295

Curatorial note

One of a set of four with XF174, XF197 and XF293. With straight legs and slightly concave top rail; plain centre splat slightly shaped at top and base; two stretchers at the sides, one at front and back; each one incised with a J within a G and a craftsman’s mark which could be BE, FE or EE.

The Furniture and Fittings inventory lists ‘two old Painted hall chairs’ in the front kitchen and another ‘2 old chairs’ in the back kitchen which may be these four. It is possible that these are the ‘4 kitchen chairs’ bought by Mrs. Soane for Pitzhanger Manor in 18041 or were among the ‘Eight boarded bottom Kitchen Chairs £2.4’ and a further ‘6 Boarded bottom kitchen chairs £1.13’ supplied by John Robins in 1803-04.2

The cipher stamp applied by John Gee is often accompanied by initials, which are probably those of individual workmen. The initials on the Soane chairs would fit into this pattern. Gee's main production embraced neat and fashionable seat furniture as well as these serviceable but stylistically rudimentary chairs, intended for use in service rooms, as reflected by the location of two of them in Soane’s Back Kitchen in 1837.

1 SM Archive XVI.A.4.5. Bill dated October 24 1835.
2 SM Archive Mrs. Soane Note Book, February 18 1804 ‘Bought 4 kitchen chairs, gave 0.12.0’.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk