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highlights of the forthcoming sale which was to include: „patent library tables and chairs‟. As Sophie Von La Roche had observed during her visit to Seddon‟s in 1786, some of Seddon‟s departments contained „nothing but chairs, sofas and stools of every description, some quite simple, others exquisitely carved‟. It appears from the auction records and Von La Roche‟s account that the firm of Seddon, Sons & Shackleton74 could also have been manufacturing an earlier version of the Library Step Chair. There was certainly no shortage of demand. Figure 31 shows a portrait of John Foster, a business acquaintance of Charles Dickens ca. 1850. Foster is sat on a Metamorphic Library Chair in a modest library indicating that the chair appealed to the middle-classes as well as the aristocracy and wealthy merchants. Elizabeth Burton (1967, p. 113) makes a similar point when she comments, „Every great house had to have a library‟ and „middling houses often had them too‟.


Figure 31 – John Foster by E.M. Ward ca. 1850 Source: National Portrait Gallery (Museum No. P.74-1935)


While cabinet-makers in London perfected the Metamorphic Library Chair design, small workshops and individual craftsmen outside of the capital also kept watch on new furniture developments. Ackermann‟s publications together with first-hand accounts of the London fashion scene kept rural communities well informed of the latest trends. Regional copies of the Metamorphic Library Chair would have


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