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A prototype Chair No 229, c.1880, designed by Dr Christopher Dresser, for sale with Paul Shutler priced between £20,000-30,000.

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Decorative arts and design dealer Paul Shutler discovered it and is one of his latest finds.

The piece was made from Cuban mahogany to Dresser’s designs by Thomas Knight of Bath and appears on a single page of 16 chair designs by Dresser in the Thomas Knight archive held in the V&A.

Prior to this chair’s discovery, 10 examples of the 16 designs had been identified, with nine represented by just a single example. Shutler believes Thomas Knight made one prototype of each of the 16 designs to stock in the Art Furnishers’ Alliance’s showroom in New Bond Street, London. Pieces were then made to order.

The chair, which comes in later red upholstery, is priced in the region of £20,000-30,000 and is one of two new finds Shutler unveiled this month to celebrate his 15 years trading online. He is based in Bretforton, Worcestershire.

Godwin find

The other discovery was a pair of walnut side chairs attributed to the progressive architect-designer Edward William Godwin (1833-86), which has since sold to an American buyer. The chairs were made by Smith & Company for the new police courts in Godwin’s hometown of Bristol.

“It’s entirely possible to buy pieces by big names on a weekly basis but learning from my contemporaries and forefathers, down that road a full warehouse lies,” says Shutler.

“I prefer to selectively acquire examples by the greats that have something to say. This is why I’m excited to announce these new discoveries; they should contribute a little more to our knowledge of these masters of 19th century design.”

paulshutler.co.uk