This comfortable chair was designed by one of the twentieth century’s better designers, Carel Lion Cachet. But what makes it particularly special is the story of the people who sat in them. Chairs like these were made for the passenger ship the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, which, from its launch in 1929, completed around forty voyages between the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands. The first-class passengers – the most expensive class – travelling from the Dutch East Indies to the Netherlands or back would have sat in these chairs in the music salon or the dining room. In these very chairs they may have sat listening to a string ensemble or an elegant singer, or enjoying a bite to eat while thinking of their future in the Dutch East Indies or the reunion with their family in the Netherlands. Later, in the Second World War, the ship transported Dutch troops from the Netherlands to Dutch East India to restore Dutch power in the military offensives known as the ‘police actions’. And in the 1950s the chairs would have been used by Dutch emigrants setting out to try their luck in the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. The Johan van Oldenbarnevelt sunk in 1963. By then the interior had already been modernised and the old fittings and furniture – including these chairs – sold. Which is why they are not at the bottom of the sea, but in Amsterdam, in the collection of the Tropenmuseum.
circa 87 x 58 x 61,5cm (34 1/4 x 22 13/16 x 24 3/16in.)