Anthony, Get Me that Chair!
I don't care if you have to ransack every pyramid in the Land
I want that Chair
My little asp- You have a chair- A Throne!
Yes, and I want that ONE,
just like You, my darling Anthony, want this one!
A fantastic chair and a fantastic story- as only Hollywood can make and THERIEN & COMPANY can tell:
Quiet on The Set
by Philip Bewley of THERIEN & COMPANY
“The chair would seem to have had the life of a Hollywood film star” says Philip Stites (Therien & Co) of a French “Egyptian Revival” mahogany and parcel gilt armchair to be featured in this weeks San Francisco Fall Antiques Show. Made in France, the chair was “discovered” by a Hollywood studio scout and then whisked off to Hollywood where it had a brief career in the movie, The Ten Commandments, before retiring to a luxurious villa in the Hollywood Hills with a legendary film director
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS
Made in France around 1910, the chair is after a royal throne (1567-1329 B.C.E.) discovered in 1905 in a side valley off the main Valley of the Kings by Theodore M. Davis. The splendid treasures of this tomb, the finest prior discovery of the tomb of King Tut 17 years later, captivated the French as well as all of Europe. Stites adds,“ A few items of superb craftsmanship with an exacting attention to detail were produced in France after the discovery, this chair being one of them”
“READY FOR MY CLOSEUP, MR. DE MILLE”
For the filming of Cecil B De Mille’s Old Testament extravaganza, The Ten Commandments (1956), set decorators Sam Comer and Ray Moyer scoured the world for props for the film with production work beginning in 1954. They likely purchased this chair in Paris at that time.
With all of its back-lot spectacle and soundstage pageantry there is nothing gritty in the films depiction of ancient Egypt; when Hollywood met the Nile, it was in gleaming interiors with backlit panels of seductive gauze made even more vivid by glorious Technicolor. It should be noted, however, that De Mille insisted upon authenticity, taking great interest in all aspects of the films art direction. Upon the films completion, this throne chair joined a pair of stone tablets, the very Ten Commandments themselves (or at least the models De Mille had made for the film, cut from the red granite of Mount Sinai) where they were installed in Cecil B De Mille’s private office at his compound in the Hollywood Hills.