Object Name
Penitentiary Cabinet Warehouse
Date Made
Wood --Fabric
Eminent Figure
Samuel Trangott Drennan
Catalogue Number

Length: 73 cm Width: 50 cm Height: 130 cm


An upholstered throne chair with a matching stool made of carved wood with a black lacquered finish.

a- The armchair is constructed out of hardwood, and is carved in high relief with ornate decorative motifs. At the front of the armsrests are carved lion heads, and the legs of the chairs are carved into lion paws at the base with leaf motifs along the length. At the front of the chair face are decorative maple leaf motifs carved in high relief, with a textured low relief background. The edges of the back of the chair (from the recto) have roses carved in relief with vines extending to the top of the chair. The top of chair has a crest with the inscriptions "HONI SOIT QUI MALY PENSE" carved in relief. On the PR side of the crest is a lion and on the PL side is a unicorn carved in high relief.

The wood is finished with a deep black laquer, and possibly a natural wax finish. It is likely that this lacquer is not the original lacquer, as there is evidence of over-painting on break edges, and there are drip marks in some areas of the surface which would not have been left on the original piece.

The arm rests, seat, and back of the chair are all upholstered. The upholstery consists of cotton and silk fabric with floral motifs in two shades of red (ochre, and crimson alizarin), and two shades of cream (light sienna, and earthy cream). The edges of the upholstery are edged with a cotton-silk decorative border.

The seat of this throne-style chair is traditional for the period, consisting of linen straps beneath the seat, with springs, a fabric deck, horsehair fabric, natural felt, and then topped with upholstery fabric. The seat selements have been secured in place with nails and tacking nails.

The back of the chair appears to have been constructed with a wooden beam running the height of the seat back, from the seat to the top of the chair, with canvas and/or horsehair creating the body of the chair back with the upholstery applied overtop of this. There is modern red velvet upholstery applied to the back section of the chair.

The PR front leg has an inscription "1860" inscribed by hand into the back of the leg over the black paint.

b - The stool is made of the same wood and finish as the chair. It is constructed with a wooden frame with carved relief consisting of floral motifs in the front and back, and maple leaf motifs on the sides. The feet of the stool are carved into lion paws, which are flat onthe bottom. The frame of the stool is raised 4cm off the ground by the feet, and the crental area of the stool is a cushion covered in upholstery. The internal structure of the cushion-section is made in the same fashion as the chair seat, with springs inside, fabric onthe underside that is secured to the wooden frame, and upholstery on the top with the same fabric as the seat of the chair.


Reported to have been made at the Kingston Penitentiary cabinet shop, operated by cabinetmaker Samuel Trangott Drennan (later Mayor of Kingston in 1872 and long time Alderman). Convicts provided the labour in the penitentiary cabinet shop. Reported to have been made for use by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) who undertook a two-month tour of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Upper Canada, and Lower Canada in 1860. It is unclear if the chair and stool were in fact made for a later Royal tour in 1869 for Queen Victoria's third son, Prince Arthur (later Duke of Connaught). It is believed that the Prince never used the chair; before he left his ship in the Kingston harbour, he was advised not to walk under the Orange Lodge's welcoming arch for fear of offending Canadian and Irish Roman Catholics. Apparently he never left the ship. The chair was used during subsequent royal visits (1890?, 1901).