We couldn't resist this much travelled chair with its connection to the uncrowned king of magic and wizardry during the 19th century John Henry Anderson - or the Great Wizard of the North!
Walnut framed arm chair of, we would say, either a French or American maker carrying an engraved plaque to the rear bearing the legend ' Presented to Mrs John Smith by John Henry Anderson (The great Wizard of the North) as a token of his gratitude for the many acts of kindness done to him by her beloved Husband. Boston. Massachusetts. United States of America. 29th September 1852'.
The Wizard was indeed touring the United States at this time and it is intriguing to ponder upon what services Mr Smith could have performed that resulted in such a gift - hopefully not an unsuccessful rendition of anderson's gun trick!
Whilst the upholstery is not the original it has some age and is very usable, with good springing, webbing and padding, despite showing very slight signs of having been caressed by a cat's claws at the back.
The Boston date of 1852
There is much to be found about the Great Wizard of the North, as he was apparently dubbed by Walter Scott, on the 'web' but this is how Britannica sums him up - John Henry Anderson, (born July 14, 1814, Craigmyle, Aberdeen, Scot.—died Feb. 5, 1874, Darlington, Durham, Eng.), Scottish conjurer and actor, the first magician to demonstrate and exploit the value of advertising.
Described on playbills as “Professor Anderson, the Wizard of the North,” he first performed in 1831. Seasons at Edinburgh (1837) and Glasgow (1838–39) followed. In London (1840) he made use of the most elaborate collection of magical apparatus ever seen there. During a U.S. tour (1851–53) Anderson first did his famous “gun trick,” by which he appeared to catch a bullet fired by someone in the audience. On his return to Great Britain he performed before Queen Victoria and then took the title role in the melodrama Rob Roy at the Lyceum and Covent Garden theatres (1855–56). The three-day “Grand Carnival” with which the Covent Garden seasons were concluded ended in disaster in 1857 when Anderson tried to dispel drunken revelers by lowering the gaslights. The ceiling caught fire, and the theatre was burned down. This only added to his fame, and he continued to tour widely, his style of presentation gradually becoming less flamboyant.
Price £585 €668.60 $772.79