Mexican Campeche chair boasts Roman influence

This Mexican chair with its leather sling seat is known as a Campeche chair. The style was inspired by a Roman magistrate’s chair, which had a similar shape and sloping seat that was considered very restful.

More recent Campeche chairs were made in the 19th century in Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, the Balearic Isles and other nearby areas and Indonesia. They are named for the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico, or perhaps the town of Campeche in the Yucatan where they were made.

From 1800 to 1825, many of these chairs, sometimes called “plantation chairs,” were shipped to New Orleans and used in Southern homes. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had several Campeche chairs with tooled leather seats. By the 1830s, there were many references to the chairs in books and letters.

This chair has two wooden X-shaped sides held together with horizontal rails. The sling back and seat is made of tooled leather with an Art Nouveau design that suggests a date in the late 1800s. It sold at a Neal Auction in March 2018 for $976.

•••

Q: I inherited a square porcelain tray marked with a crown, the initials “P.M.,” and “Bavaria.” The tray is pale green with a portrait of a Victorian-era lady in the center. It has slightly scalloped edges and gilt handles. Can you tell me who made it?

A: Your tray was made by Porzellanfabrik Moschendorf, a porcelain factory in Hof-Mosrf, Bavaria, Germany. This mark was used 1895-1937. The factory became Porzellanfabrik Otto Reinecke in 1937 and closed in 1957.

•••

Q: I’m thinking of selling some of my Madam Alexander dolls. They are bend-knee walkers about 8 inches tall. Each doll is dressed in a costume from a different country and is in perfect condition. What are they worth?

A: The Alexander Doll Co. was founded in New York City in 1923 by Beatrice Alexander Behrman (1895-1990). She trademarked the name “Madame Alexander” in 1928 and began referring to herself as Madame Alexander. She sold the company in 1988, and there were more changes in ownership. The company has been owned by Kahn Lucas since 2012. Your dolls are part of the “International Dolls” series. Some dolls’ retail prices this year were $23, $40, $65 and $84. There is a club for collectors, the Madame Alexander Doll Club (madc.online).