The attribution of Christopher Dresser is based not solely on the style of the present chairs, but through his work with the manufactures as well as a love of designing objects in new materials, in this case cast-iron. Dresser was particularly interested in this material which was robust, could be fabricated easily and meant his designs could be exposed to a wide audience.
Dresser produced designs for Coalbrookdale which were patented from 1867 (his first design being number 206162, bench-ends which relate to the present lot1). He eventually became the foundry's lead designer and produced work in an array of forms. He was not only inspired by the Aesthetic movement of which he was a keen exponent, having worked with Owen Jones on The Grammar of Ornament (1856) but also the natural world, especially botany. The present chairs demonstrate this through the use of highly stylised leaves and tendrils. For comparison also see his 'Medieval' pattern garden seat of 1880 which features Gothic flourishes, another stylistic device evidenced in this pair of chairs.
For a pair of 'BOREAS' Coalbrookdale chairs by Dresser, which have stylistic parallels and the same high backs, see Christopher Dresser: A Design Revolution, exh. cat., Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2004, p. 112
1Christie's, London, 19 July 1989, lot 119
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