Marked for Arthur J Jones & Son of Dublin and dated 1850, it was probably part of a large suite of furniture made of Irish bog oak and yew produced for the 1851 Great Exhibition.
According to a description by John Lambert Jones published in 1853 and dedicated to the Duke of Leinster, the “main characteristic of the collection is wonderful Picturesqueness”.
Everything in the suite, including a wine cooler now in the collection of the National Trust, Australia, and a card table in the Victoria and Albert Museum, was intended to illustrate the history, antiquities, animals and vegetation of Ireland.
In the case of this chair, the carved decoration includes a harp, oak leaves, a stag, a pair of Irish wolfhounds and two busts of historical figures, perhaps the ancient High Kings of Ireland.
It was in good condition apart from some splits to the wood, minor losses and later upholstery to the seat.
Eight phone lines and several online bidders were in the hunt up to about £30,000 before two phone bidders, one from Ireland and one from London, took it to £44,000. The London bidder won at a price that with 20% buyer’s premium and VAT was over £53,000.