In fact, word quickly reached the auctioneers that the sturdy chair, with its ebonised and gilt decoration of Vitruvian scrolls, eight-pointed stars, Greek-key pattern and other geometric motifs, may be attributable to a giant of Victorian design. By sale day it was catalogued as “in the manner of Dr Christopher Dresser (1834-1904)” with bidding opening at £1000. Ultimately it sold on the phone for £11,400 (plus 19% buyer’s premium).
Although a little tired, the chair c.1875 was in wholly original condition. A number of different cabinetmakers produced Dresser designs including Chubb & Co and William Booty (both of London) and Thomas Knight in Bath, whose archive of Dresser designs from the early 1880s is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.