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Timber – All three chairs appear to be made of Honduran mahogany but comparison is difficult due to restoration and sun damage on the Trinity College chair. Nevertheless, the Trinity College chair does have a figured veneer panel set into the top-rail of the chair.


Fittings – All three chairs make use of different catches. The Trinity College chair uses a lever-operated latch design (Figure 17, p. 46), whereas the chair in the Schneidman Collection has a push-button, spring catch mechanism. There is no locking mechanism on the Butchoff chair. There are also differences in the design and orientation of the butt-hinges. Since these are recessed into the frame, the differences are a feature of the original construction and could be a reliable indicator that the chairs are from different workshops. Note that the hinges on the chair at Trinity College have been replaced but the positions and sizes of the original hinge plates remain visible.55 The castors fitted to the Butchoff chair would have been a factory-fitted option. The castors had to be fitted at the time of manufacture since the additional height of the chair relative to the top-rail would have created a design problem. In the open position the top of the crest-rail must be parallel with the lowest point of the chair for the steps to remain parallel.


Maker’s Marks – There are no marks on the Trinity College chair despite the observations of G. Bernard Hughes (1967, p. 453). But there are marks on the chair in the Schneidman Collection indicating that the chair was part of the Royal Collection between 1830 and 1837. A photograph and more details relating to the mark are included in Chapter 7. The Butchoff chair is unmarked.


Despite the field research, the results remain inconclusive. The differences identified in the fittings and the applied decoration may well have been the result of customer specific requests, on-going improvements in the design or the availability of locally sourced components. Since Morgan & Sanders, like many of their competitors, made use of sub-contract labour it is also possible that the differences in construction were due to the preferences of an individual craftsman rather than the intention of the firm to create a differentiated product for the market. Even so, the similarities between the known Morgan & Sanders chair at Trinity College Oxford and the chair belonging to the Schneidman Collection in New York, do suggest a common source of supply and this will be explored further as we broaden the comparison group and start to


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