AN antiques dealer is trying to determine whether a chair he sold was made from a tree planted by William Shakespeare.

David Gray from Grays of Worcester sold the chair to Stratford business Tony Bird for a three-figure sum.

The intricately carved chair was made in 1862 for Victorian philanthropist Frederick Cosens whose name appears on the back alongside references to Shakespeare’s garden.

Mr Bird said: “History tells us that Frederick William Cosens was an extremely wealthy patron of the arts.

“He was a specialist in 17th century English and Spanish literature with a passion for the works of William Shakespeare.

“He was content for his name to be on the back and was not the sort of man to have allowed his name to be associated with a chair of unverified origin.

“At the end of his life, the estate of Frederick Cosens – including his library and collection of paintings – was sold at auction by Sothebys.

“We don’t know yet whether the chair was sold with his estate.”

Mr Gray said: “Unfortunately we are unable to throw any more light on the history of the chair.

“It was bought from a private client some years ago and we have had it at home because we thought the carving to be especially intricate and lovely.”

William Shakespeare is said to have planted a Mulberry tree in his garden at New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon where he lived during his retirement from theatre.

Reverend Francis Gastrell, who owned New Place in the 18th century, was said to have had a mulberry tree in the garden which he felled during the 1750s.

Theories suggest the chair may possibly be linked to a tree currently in the Great Garden at New Place which grew from a section of the tree thought to have been planted by Shakespeare.

The scion of Shakespeare's tree was planted in 1862, the same year the chair was made.

Rosalyn Sklar, collections officer at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said: “The chair pre-dates when we acquired the site of New Place and so we cannot add anything in terms of provenance but it is a fascinating item and we would be interested to know more about its history.'"