A Chair On Skis
Here’s a little chair that stands on just two legs fixed to two “skis” – totally unique in its own way and as well preserved as you could wish to see.
It would seem to be a child’s chair, with a story from the past that remains tantalisingly untold. No one smiles knowingly, no one knows anything. People I’ve spoken to about it don’t even seem to show the slightest interest. “Ugly,” said one person. “A freak,” declared another. “The cack-handed concoction of some village carpenter,” suggested a third, adding that it must surely be “a Friday afternoon example”.
Such a hail of criticism makes me start to feel genuine sympathy towards the little chair, which measures 28 cm from floor to seat and 62 cm to the top of the backrest.
It’s actually quite a charming little construction, with its holes in the backrest and a cut-out handle in the crest.
It probably dates from the 1800s and may well have been made in Sweden. Similar children’s chairs sometimes crop up at various auctions, with the same kind of decoration of round holes in the otherwise solid and, in this case, circular backrest. It’s perhaps more unusual, however, to see one with just two legs.
Describing the little chair as resting on skis quickly lends it the air of something out of a fairy tale … A chirpy little girl seated comfortably on the chair with her splendid home-knitted bobble hat on her head, using her ski sticks to help her pick up speed as she hurtles down a snowy slope somewhere in the winter wonderland of northern Sweden. Her cheeks red with excitement, she laughs and waves to me with one of her sticks. Her chair is the best sled she could ever have dreamed of.
Chairs are places where reality and romance come together and co-exist, from childhood to old age. Sometimes with skis, sometimes with runners that steer you gently into the world of dreams. But more often than not, with four sturdy legs and a comfortably padded seat so you can relax on them and enjoy a cup or two of your favorite tea.
By Gun Bjerkander Handberg
This blog is an extension of the elegant book series by Gun Bjerkander Handberg, ‘Please Be Seated – Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell. Two beautiful books filled with charming tales of inspirational chairs and musings of a four-legged variety.
If you enjoy the blog, both books are now available online and at all decerning bookshops.
Please Be Seated – Historic Chairs and The Tales They Tell
Please Be Seated – More Historic Chairs