SHAKESPEARE'S LEGENDARY HERNE'S OAK
34 x 24 x 24 ins. stuffed seat,
Since the early 18th century the Shakespeare Revival led by David Garrick, and in the 19th century when Shakespeare became an emblem of National Pride, the market for items relating to the Bard was rampant. Small artifacts made from Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree can regularly be seen for sale or in collections, often with little provenance. When the great Hearne's Oak in Windsor, immortalised by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor, was blown down in 1863, William Perry, Queen Victoria's Wood Carver, was given the pieces to make mementos. Such was the pressure on William Perry to give provenance to his carvings that he went in to print to "prove" his pieces. His book "A Treatise on the Identity of Herne's Oak, Shewing the Maiden Tree to Have Been the Real One" was published in 1867. He sites Samuel Ireland's Picturesque Views on the Thames, 1791, and other documents at Windsor on the Park. Perry's most public work was for the box, now in the Beineke Library, made from Hearne's Oak, to house the First Folio which belonged to Baroness Burdett Coutts. There is also in the Windsor Castle Library a copy of Perry's book elaborately carved bound in the wood. It is in their current Shakespeare Exhibition. The Shakepeare Birthplace Trust have a small slither of Hearne's Oak with a note by Perry authenticating it, but they have no other trinkets or artifacts made from it. Joan Cotterell of the Forestry Commission has done research into the Oaks of the Windsor Great Park, and found that they have a Haplotype 1, which is not found in other Oaks in Great Britain. Dr. Bernd Degen Direktor und Professor at the Thünen-Institut für Forstgenetik in Germany can detect this Haplotype and match the DNA of wood including aged wood. However the cost of such authentication would multiply the cost of the chair many times. This "Windsor Chair", whilst making no claim to be made from "Hearne's Oak", claims the rights of the 19th Century Shakespeare revival and his great comedy printed in 1619 and titled "A most pleasant and excellent conceited comedy, of Sir John Falstaffe, and the Merry Wiues of Windsor."
Stock ref: 13758