Rare King George VI Coronation Chair 1937 GRVI W Hands & Sons Original
Exceptionally rare George VI Coronation Chair with 'GRVI' cypher, fully stamped 'GRVI W HANDS & SONS, 1937’, Peers chairs were used in Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, with limed oak frame and dark green velvet upholstery finished with gold braid banding with the Kings royal cypher to top left corner, these chairs were used in Westminster Abbey for the Peers to sit and observe the coronation.
The chairs from the coronation of George VI were made from limed oak and were upholstered in a dark green velour fabric, while the ones from Elizabeth II’s were made from silver powdered British oak and upholstered in a regal blue velour fabric. Both were stamped underneath with the sovereign’s initials. In style they have overwrap seats and a full padded back rest which has the monarch’s initials and a crown embroidered on the front.
The chairs were made by William Hands of High Wycombe, William Hands process starts with a single sheet of white paper, every mark a statement, every thought witnessed, every stroke adding meaning to a moment in time.
Their ideology and passion for creating the highest quality pieces of furniture demands that we only select the finest materials, meticulously crafting products without compromise, founded in 1906
William Hands reputation for excellence is the result of exceptional service, craftsmanship and design. Manufacturing from the original site on which the company was founded, William Hands is a symbol of the success and evolution of the British furniture industry.
After the coronations of George V in 1911, George VI in 1937 and of Elizabeth II in 1953, it was decided to sell off some of the trappings of the events. After each of the Coronations the chairs and stools which the guests had used were offered for sale to with first refusal given to the people who had occupied the seat at the ceremony. As they offered a unique and lasting souvenir of such a great occasion they were eagerly snapped up.
From The Estate of MJ Long, Designer Of The British Library, the architects Mary Jane (‘MJ’) Long (1939-2018) and Colin ‘Sandy’ St John Wilson (1922-2007), the husband and wife team that designed the British Library.
The pair met at Yale University and began working together in 1965 after moving to London. Following their marriage in 1972, they began a commission for the new British Library, a task they would continue to work on for thirty years - it later became one of the youngest buildings ever given a grade I listing, for its outstanding architecture.
St John Wilson and Paolozzi had been friends since the pair both participated in the seminal ‘This is Tomorrow’ exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956.
Kitaj was one of the fourteen artists for which MJ Long had designed studios, typically accepting paintings and drawings as part payment for her work. She later wrote about the projects in a 2009 book ‘Artists’ Studios’.
Long’s London home, built c.1926 as a studio for the sculptor Sir William Reid Dick, was adapted by the couple in 1974 into a family home. It housed post-war design classics, such as the chairs designed by Mies van der Rohe and the pair of Beehive pendant lamps by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.
Long was a keen sailor and also included is a Canadian canoe from the home the couple shared in the West Sussex village of Bosham. One of their final projects together was to design a contemporary extension to the original Queen Anne townhouse of the nearby Pallant House Gallery. The new wing that opened in 2006, the year before St John Wilson died, had been a project particularly close to the couple’s heart; the space they created was used to house a collection of modern British art they had donated to the gallery a decade earlier.
Condition Report: The chair is offered in original condition, minor scuff marks to frames, fabric lightly faded, some of the braiding is worn, no odours or smells, chair stamped and dated 1937.
King George VI
Maker: William Hands
Provenance: The Estate of MJ Long
Wood: Limed Oak
Stamped with makers mark
Height: 34” Inches / 86cm
Width: 19” Inches / 49cm
Depth: 18" Inches / 45cm
Floor to seat: 17” inches / 43cm
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