The Inherited 17th century Chair
“A chair with a story to tell” seems almost absurd as an epithet for an English chair such as this that dates from sometime around the 1650s. Every chair has a tale to tell – that goes without saying – but age must surely take precedence. “Stories beyond number” would perhaps be more apt a description. Here is a chair that has seen and experienced it all.
The old oak chair with arms boasts a richly carved backrest and is both well-worked and a joy to behold. Today, however, a cushion undoubtedly makes for more comfortable sitting. Back in the days when the chair was young, comfort was seldom a priority; it rose to prominence only in later years when chairmakers began to pad and upholster both seats and backrests. Truth to tell, this looks more like a wall-mounted bench that has boldly stepped out into the room to reinvent itself as a movable chair on four legs. It has been very popular down the ages to decorate furniture with carved patterns, although the quality of the result depends on both the type of wood and the skill of the carver.
How much has been replaced during the passage of time, and is thus of a later date, is difficult to judge based merely on a picture. There’s something about the size and shape of the backrest that somehow seems a trifle odd. At some time in the past, someone may well have tried to play around with this imposing elder statesman.
The chair once belonged to an English antique dealer, with whom it shared a home for years. Based on that information alone, it’s tempting to assume that the chair is, in all essentials, around 350 years old.
After all, what antique dealer worth his salt would give pride of place to a chair that is a mishmash rather than a masterpiece?
What do you make of the antique dealer’s oak chair?
Do you have a mishmash or a masterpiece of a chair which you give pride of place to?
If so we would love to hear about it, please share in the comments sections.
A quick note from the Editor….
This short story and blog are inspired by the Please Be Seated series written by the author Gun Bjerkander Handberg. Both books tell tales of historic chairs, some famous, some infamous, but all with their own unique tale to tell.
The Please Be Seated series is published by Vind & Våg publishing House and are available online and to order at all good bookstores.