An extremely rare, mid 19th century Suffolk lip-work armchair made of straw and what I believe is peeled holly bark, in very good condition.
English circa 1850
Provenance : Kentwell Hall , Long Melford, Suffolk
The use of Lip-work in the UK for domestic items was widespread in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Lip-work is produced by taking a cows horn, the interior cleaned out and the narrow end sawn off, passing straw through the horn which keeps the thickness consistent and then binding it. The straw is bound with either split bramble, peeled holly bark or split withy which produces a form of rope, that is then woven into your chair, basket, bee skep etc. Due to the nature of this material there are not many survivors from the 19th century.
You can find examples of lip-work chairs at the Welsh Folk Art Museum at Ceredigion, and a hooded version at Oxford University that belonged to Edward Jenner the Physician.