Information about this unique chair design
March 9, 2014 3:27 PM   Subscribe

My friend bought this chair at a vintage store in town. The salesperson did not have any information about its history or style. Does anyone here know the name of this chair or know the period that is comes from? Any information about it would be much appreciated.
posted by beisny to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
any marks on the bottom?
posted by bq at 5:28 PM on March 9, 2014

It looks to me that someone took a modified "barrel chair" or Victorian-style slipper chair that was fully upholtered and stripped it down to the frame which they stained and then just reupholstered the seat but not the back.
posted by agatha_magatha at 5:41 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think agatha_magatha's on the right track. If the chair's been stripped down, you should be able to see marks on the frame where the original upholstery tacks were used. Put the chair in bright sunlight and look for the flat spots of colour that indicate filler.


With the disclaimer that I'm in no way an expert, there's two odd things about this chair.

The style of the top doesn't appear to match the bottom. The curve definitely looks Victorian (example), but on a Victorian chair I would expect the exposed wooden area beneath the seat to be decorated or shaped (the example above has a serpentine (wavy) seat), and the legs to be cabriole with pad feet. Even if the seat frame had been originally been covered by upholstery (example), the plain, straight legs just don't look right to me.

The proportions also seem off, with the big balloon back slimming down to a tiny little seat. The way that the top flares out is called wings. Winged chairs were traditionally used for relaxing by the fireplace -- the wings kept the warm air around the person's head and the cold air out -- but that meant they also tended to have larger, often square-shaped seats and armrests as well.

Is it possible it's been made from two different chairs? A Victorian top and a simpler base? Alternatively, perhaps it's a modern craftsman or craftswomen playing with different styles and proportion?

Please let us know if your friend discovers anything new. It's quite the mystery!
posted by Georgina at 8:22 PM on March 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

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