Sir Robert Walpole may have used �45,000 chair

Leading the country as Britain's first prime minister must have been a great honour but also a highly pressured and demanding occupation for Sir Robert Walpole.

From keeping Britain at peace to sorting out the national economy the 'fat old Squire of Norfolk' had a lot on his plate.

And a chair he may have been sitting in while contemplating the major political decisions of his day is to go on sale this weekend, priced at �45,000.

It is on sale at the Esher Hall Antique and Fine Art Fair, which opens at Esher Hall, Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey today and runs until Sunday.

The chair is owned by Priscilla Daniels, 42, a furniture restorer and upholsterer who lives in Oxfordshire and runs Parkside Antiques with her mother Patricia Daniels.


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The chair's design is very rare and Miss Daniels, originally from Melbourne, Australia, has been told by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (V&A) there are chairs of a similar style in Houghton Hall, near Fakenham, where Sir Robert lived. The V&A also believes it has come from a state bedroom.

The year 1722 is engraved on the left wing of the chair, which is when work started on building Houghton Hall.

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The chair bears striking similarities, particularly its rare hoof feet to those designed by the Roberts family, who were commissioned to do work for the royal family.

Miss Daniels said: 'In my 15 years in the antique business I have never seen these hoof style feet.

'The chair is very large and its grand style made me think it was made for a state home. So I wrote to the V&A and investigated further.

'I can not say 100pc but the 1722 date and the design with the rare hoof feet suggest that the chair may have been commissioned for Houghton Hall.

'I bought the chair from a dealer in Oxfordshire with my father about 15 years ago.

'I liked it because it was unusual and I could tell it was very rare. I was unaware of the possible Houghton Hall link at the time.'

The chair is 52 inches high, 33 inches wide, with a depth of 25 inches.

It has been made from fine Virginia walnut and Miss Daniels has upholstered it using silk damask with a complex weave and brocatelle, dating from the early 18th century.

She said: 'I have priced it at �45,000 following advice from people around me and there has already been quite a bit of interest.

'I think it is a good price. It is a beautiful chair, is in fabulous condition and it appears to have a lot of history to it.

If it were sold at a big place like Sotheby's it could go for �100,000.

'I am putting it up for sale because I think this could help my business. If it doesn't sell I'll happily keep it and I don't think I'll try to sell it again.'

Strangely, in all the years she has owned the chair, Miss Daniels has never sat in it.

She said: 'I wouldn't dare do anything that could damage the upholstery.'

adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk

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