Box House Antiques

Contemplating King Charles III’s taste in the Applied Arts

A message from John:

Watching the coronation of King Charles lll we were fascinated to get a look at the coronation chair, and the Stone of Scone used down the ages at the coronations of the Kings of Scotland and England – recently transported to Westminster Abbey from its usual home in Edinburgh. Some Scottish Nationalists refuse to allow the stone to leave Scotland, focusing attention on what they perceived to be growing enthusiasm for Scottish independence.

The throne and stone have origins dating back to the late-thirteenth century. It is not often that we handle an item of furniture dating from pre 1600, let alone from pre 1300.

We know much about the tastes of Charles l especially through his superb collection of paintings. This King was one of the greatest art collectors of all time. His son Charles ll – when reclaiming his throne in 1660 after the Commonwealth – brought more extravagant Continental tastes and artisans with him to London, in direct contrast to the austerity of the Puritans under Cromwell. This period inaugurated a great resurgence in opulence which Charles ll found to his taste and was eager to promote. The import of exotic ‘Japan’ items from the ‘Indies’ found much favour at this time. These have been for many years, and remain today, of particular interest to us at Box House Antiques where anyone interested is always warmly welcomed.

At present, inter alia, we have a wonderful ‘japanned’ standing corner cabinet:

Charles lll’s tastes in the applied arts remain hard to detect, apart from the odd glimpse of the interior of Clarence House and of his home, Highgrove in Gloucestershire. I know a little more of the detail through an old mutual friend, the late interior designer Robert Kime, who assisted His Majesty with the decorations.

Charles lll appears to be drawn to the more traditional period look and, having the Queen of England for a mother, certainly helped source some of the major pieces.

Charles lll eschews the current modern abstract and/ or minimalist look, much promoted these days.