Consort’s Chair #1999-1440Senate Chamber, North Wing, Main Floor
A blackwood fully upholstered high back chair, upholstered in red leather with padded square arms and a padded seat; the apron with applied rounds, on square section tapering legs with block feet raised on later added metal castors.
The Consort’s Chair was used in the Senate Chamber between 1927 and 1988, and is still located in the Senate. The chair was designed in 1926 by the Architects Department of the Federal Capital Commission, led by principal architect John Smith Murdoch, specifically for Provisional Parliament House. Murdoch’s design for this chair and the other Senate Chamber furniture was inspired by the Westminster system of Parliament. In 1954 Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch to set foot in Australia, accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. One of her official engagements was to open the third session of the twentieth Parliament in the Senate Chamber, for which the Duke of Edinburgh occupied the Consort’s Chair.
The Consort’s Chair was manufactured by Beard Watson & Co Ltd, one of the six firms that were contracted to construct Murdoch’s designs. Beard Watson & Co Ltd were renowned in Sydney as a retailer and manufacturer of high class furnishings, initially manufacturing floor coverings and carpets but diversifying into furniture in 1901. A 1917 article in The Australian Manufacturer stated of Beard Watson that ‘the furniture it sells, and particularly the furniture it produces, is distinguished at once for its good workmanship and for its artistic beauty.’ A smaller version of the Consort’s chair was made for the 1927 Royal Visit, and was used by the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth).
|Medium||Blackwood; leather; timber|
|Creator’s name||John Smith Murdoch|
|Date created||Circa 1927|