CHILD'S ARMCHAIR, China, 19th Century


"Brighton Pavilion" Bamboo Child's Chair, & Regency Furniture, Early 19th Century England

A rare survivor!

We all know what children do to their chairs - from being 'best friend', to ladder :

A 19th century child's open armchair

made in the Chinese manner employed by

George IV in furnishing the Royal Pavilion at Brighton,

having a split bamboo frame with upright back and downswept arms,

all inset with intricate geometric and foliate bamboo openwork;

the trapezoidal seat of cane-work.


For this rather small chair, there is a rather 'exotic' story.

If you recall, England had set up trade with China and India about 1600.

To the English, the "East" represented all that was mysterious and exotic -

first with ceramics, silks and spices -

then soon with furniture and wallpaper - and of course - tea

In the 1700s, England's Thomas Chippendale even

"married" Chinese and French motifs in furniture design.

All finer homes in Britain procured treasured selections of "Chinoiserie" -

be it furniture, porcelain, or wallpaper.


However, the one who became completely obsessed with the Chinese style was

George IV, the eldest child of George III.


"Portrait of George IV", Thomas Lawrence, c1814

Unlike his father, George IV is described as being

wildly extravagant with food, drink, the ladies, as well as his taste in decorating his palaces.

As early as 1801, the Prince had been completely taken by Oriental tastes

and began to expand his existing coastal Brighton retreat.

Having been presented a gift of Chinese wallpaper,

he ordered a "Chinese Gallery" (below) to display the new paper.

The 162-foot long Chinese "passage room" was contrived of painted glass decorated with flowers,

insects, fruit and birds. And in 1802, the "Chinese Gallery" was further furnished with

"bamboo furniture"...

... some of Chinese manufacture in bamboo, and others "after"

English imitations, sent to China for copying "exuberantly" in bamboo or beechwood.


"Chinese Gallery As It Was", Plate XV in Illustrations of Her Majesty's Palace at Brighton,

("...the Chinese Gallery (above, as it originally was) contains a multitude of generic Chinese/Asian features

 ('Chinoiserie'), including the hexagonal lanterns, the silk tassels and the motif of bamboo and birds on the

wallpaper, the work of interior decorator Frederick Crace.")


The Prince's desire for additional structures in the Oriental manner resulted in commissioning the

famous and "overly fashionable" John Nash as architect, and Frederick Crace for Oriental interiors -

to create his "dream" - the "Royal Pavilion",

all of Moorish, Tartar, Gothic, and Chinese elements -

including domes, tents and minarets - and supported by iron and stone.


A dominant theme for the Pavilion interior was, in fact,

"the imitation of bamboo"-

including the cast iron staircase, the wallpapers - even the moldings.

"The Garden Front of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton",  John Nash

'The Garden Front of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton',

from John Nash's "Views of the Royal Pavilion" (1826).


Such was the allure of "Chinese bamboo" in early 19th century Great Britain.

And such was bamboo's strong influence upon British furniture during that same period :


A bamboo forest, such as inspired British furniture during the Regency period


Fine George III Rosewood &Mahogany 'Quartetto' Nest of Tables

England, c1810, as pictured in George Smith's 1808 "Household Furniture",

as well as MacQuoid & Edwards, "Dictionary of English Furniture, Tables, Fig, 22",

(the quartetto on offer by this gallery)



But ... there is a further - and romantic - aspect to Brighton Pavilion.


A 1976 "New Yorker" prints this report :


"... By 1785, 'Prinny' (as he was also known) had managed to run up staggering debts, and make

 a morganatic marriage*. As London became too hot for him, he and his 'wife', Maria Fitzherbert,

rented and then bought a simple farmhouse in the small fishing village of Brighton.

This he expanded to a modest (by his standards) Palladian villa."

The debts increased to a point that Parliament insisted that he "officially marry

a suitable European princess" to pay off his debts.

"When Prinny obliged, Mrs. Fitzherbert left him and their pavilion.

The official marriage was not a success and, by 1800,

he and his princess had agreed to live apart.

And Mrs. Fitzherbert returned in triumph to the pavilion.

To celebrate her return, the prince regent had the pavilion enlarged

and the whole place redecorated in an orgy of Oriental opulence".


There are reports that differ somewhat from this story.

However, it known that despite other liaisons and affairs,

when in 1830 George IV died, he requested

the locket with the portrait his "secret wife", Maria Fitzherbert,

to be buried with him.

It is said that when Maria Fitzherbert was told of his choice - she wept.


"Portrait of Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert (1756-1837), wife of George IV"

"Portrait of Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert (1756-1837), wife of George IV"



Linked below is a YouTube video beautifully illustrating the time-honored yet simple

craftsmanship involved in the making of bamboo furniture


Li Ziqi (Lǐ zǐ qī - 李子柒) constructs a bamboo sofa-set - video

Li Ziqi (Lǐ zǐ qī - 李子柒) constructs a bamboo sofa-set,

 from the harvesting of bamboo through completion and use.

 Of most interest are the techniques used to split and bend the bamboo trunk

 in the assembly of these amazingly sturdy structures. (6:45 minutes)





Click here (or above) for detail regarding this 19th child's chair in the Brighton Pavilion manner.



There is an unmistakable charm and history to early


We try to keep a few pieces from the late 17th to early 19th century in stock.

Click above link if you wish to view.




The Legend :


"Portrait of George IV", Thomas Lawrence, c1814 -

Scanned from the book "The National Portrait Gallery History of the Kings and Queens of England"

David Williamson; Public Domain


"The Garden Front of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton",

 from John Nash's ''Views of the Royal Pavilion'' (1826);  Public Domain .


 "Chinese Gallery As It Was", Plate XV in Illustrations of Her Majesty's Palace at Brighton,

John Nash; J. B. Nichols and Son, London, 1838, etching and aquatint, brush and watercolor,

letterpress on white wove paper mounted on heavy tan board,

ruled lines in color and gold paint (Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum)


* morganatic marriage : "Morganatic marriage, legally valid marriage between a male member of

a sovereign, princely, or noble house and a woman of lesser birth or rank, with the provision

that she shall not thereby accede to his rank and that the children of the marriage shall not succeed

 to their father's hereditary dignities, fiefs, and entailed property". (Encyclopedia Britannica)


"Portrait of Mrs Maria Fitzherbert (1756-1837), wife of George IV"

("In the manner of") George Romney ? (1734-1802); Public Domain


Inventory Photography : Millicent F. Creech


click the above images or titles
for more information and images.


901-761-1163 (gallery) / 901-827-4668 (cell)



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Scare 19th Century "Brighton Pavilion" Bamboo and Caned Child's Open Armchair ; M. Ford Creech Antiques