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White, Allom & Company

Pair of Chairs of Estate, used by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and by King Charles III and Queen Camilla 1953 - 2023

Gilt beechwood (frame), silk damask (upholstery) | RCIN 2607

Throne Room, Buckingham Palace

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  • A pair of Chairs of Estate of carved and gilded beech wood, covered in crimson silk damask, with white and crimson tasselled fringing. The back embroidered with an EIIR or P cypher within a Garter; the upholstered arms on gilt wood baluster supports, with scrolled front legs joined by a stretcher carved with scrolls and another cypher.

    Their style is characteristic of English chairs from the late seventeenth century but with slightly lower backs to enable greater visibility of the sovereign. The high backs, scrolls and features in the balusters, front legs and pillars imitate shapes seen in metalwork and silver furniture of the period.The upholstery is of crimson silk damask in the Canterbury Rose pattern, including the cushion, with a tasselled fringing in white and crimson. Their upholstered arms are supported by turned gilt-wood balusters and the stretcher, which joins the two scrolled front legs, is carved with scrolls and has a cypher - ‘EIIR’ for Queen Elizabeth II on one chair, and ‘P’, for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on the other, both enclosed by the Garter of the Order of the Garter.

    The chair embroidered with 'EIIR' was used by Queen Elizabeth II at the beginning of the Coronation, up until the point that she was crowned. After the crowning ceremony she was seated in the Throne Chair, which is on display in the Garter Throne Room, Windsor Castle.

    Both chairs were made in 1953 by the London firm White Allom and Company, founded by Sir Charles Allom in 1902 and with offices at 29-30 Old Burlington Street in Mayfair. The firm specialised in historic interior decoration and in seventeenth century and eighteenth century furniture reproductions. The Duke of Edinburgh's chair was made at the same time, but delivered straight to Buckingham Palace after the coronation. During the ceremony itself he was seated on an X framed Chair of Estate.

    RCIN 2604.1.a made for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, 2 June 1953.
    RCIN 2604.2.a made for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, following the coronation and delivered directly to Buckingham Palace in July 1953.
    The form of this pair of chairs of estate was inspired by the Chairs of Estate used at the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary at Westminster Abbey in 1911 (RCIN 29960), which had themselves been inspired by a late seventeenth century chair probably by Thomas Roberts in the possession of Lord Sackville at Knole, which had in 1911 been loaned to the Office of Works as a design idea (National Trust 129423).
    Reupholstered and conserved for the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey, 6 May 2023.

  • Medium and techniques

    Gilt beechwood (frame), silk damask (upholstery)

  • Place of Production

    London [Greater London]