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Title: Settee
Identifier: 979.6.22
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1860-1870
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A Rococo Revival carved walnut framed settee with finger moulding and shaped, cabochon carved front knees and supports. The settee is upholstered in a rose brocade and has a serpentine-shaped back. There are carved designs around the wooden frame on the arms and legs of the settee. It rests on brass and porcelain casters.

This settee may have been made by Jacques & Hay Co. and is in the Rocco Revival style. Similar examples can be found in Ruth Cathcart's book "Jacques & Hay 19th Century Toronto Furniture Makers" (p 51). It is suggested that this sofa may have been acquired around 1870 at the same time that Captain Harris purchased the armchair in 1872.

Jacques and Hay Company was one of the most successful businesses in Canada and has left a legacy of fine furniture. Founded in 1835, Robert Hay and John Jacques used cabinet making skills learned in Britain to build a thriving business, and their first of many factories was located at King and Bay Streets in Toronto. Jacques & Hay Company flourished and expanded many times throughout the nineteenth century and overcame the devastation of two fires in 1854 and 1856.
The company gained notoriety for their designs and quality workmanship. In 1860, Jacques and Hay Company was commissioned to make furniture for the Prince of Wales on his visit to North America and they were also hired to make all the furniture for the prestigious Queen’s Hotel (demolished in 1927 and rebuilt as the Royal York). John Jacques retired in 1870 at the height of his business’s success, and Robert Hay bought out his partner so the company became R. Hay and Company. Robert Hay retired in 1885 transferring ownership to a long time employee, Charles Rogers, who had started with Jacques & Hay in 1851. Charles Rogers and Sons Company remained in business until 1922 continuing the long tradition of fine furniture making. See: Ruth Cathcart, "Jacques & Hay: 19th century Toronto furniture makers" (Erin, Ont. : Boston Mills Press, 1986). Oral history: (Sayers, Oct. 11, 1991).
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