A folding chair
I first saw the prototype for my folding garden chairs one fine summer’s day somewhere deep in the Swedish countryside.
Suddenly it was just standing there before me. Absolutely irresistible! I fell in love with it immediately. My grandmother would have said, “The days of miracles are not yet past.”
Old, foldable and painted black, it shone out in its simplicity. The top rail on the highback bore some kind of rather odd floral motif that seemed to have ended up there by mistake. Was it perhaps one of those old découpage images that had, for some unknown reason, been applied to the rail upside down? The flower in the centre seemed to wilt so sadly, but when you looked at it the wrong way up, so to speak, it bounced back to life in a jiffy.
Many years ago when the owners of a large farm were clearing the clutter from their lofts and attics, this elegant nineteenth-century chair was discovered, dusted off and later auctioned. In those days that was a common way of getting rid of unwanted items and earning a little cash at the same time.
There are still a good number of us who can recall the large auction held in a grand country manor years ago when a chipped chamber pot emblazoned inside with the crest of a noble family was sold for no end of money, simply because the provenance was painted on the porcelain. That, of course, is a different story altogether, and this wonderful chair has no visible provenance at all – just that curious floral swag, which, to tell the truth, would be much more at home in an old scrapbook.
A folding chair, collapsible, easily moved and at home in any surroundings. The construction dates back to early antiquity, although the appearance has seen many changes over the course of the centuries. This stylishly restrained example has been reinforced here and there with iron fixing plates and painted black.
In this particular instance, my infatuation with this piece of furniture appears to have escalated into what grandma would have called “must-have madness”. Ought I perhaps try a little harder to restrain myself?
By Gun Bjerkander Handberg
Note from the editor:
🌲 Christmas is coming 🌲 and it is a fantastic opportunity to give a charming book about Historic Chairs and the Tales They Tell to someone who has an interest in furniture, antiques or interiors. There are 2 elegant book in the series and both are written by the author of this blog, Gun Bjerkander Handberg, who is an Art Historian and Antique’s auctioneer. The books are published by Vind & Våg Publishing House a boutique British publishers.
You can order both books online by following this link or by typing PLEASE BE SEATED HISTORIC CHAIRS into your search engine.
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