The creaking cane chair
Cosy, comfy and quaint – these are my immediate impressions on first making the acquaintance of this warm and welcoming cane chair. And the loose seat cushion is the perfect complement for anyone who chooses to linger a little longer.
Wickerwork is a generic name used to describe all sorts of different items of cane furniture. Made from rattan, willow or osier, such furniture was a popular feature on verandas in the second half of the 1800s, often in the form of ornately woven cane confections. Sometimes it would be painted black, sometimes left in its natural shades.
Rattan is the woody stem of a climbing palm, Calamus rotang, that grows in Asia. As far back as in the 1600s strips of the rattan stem were woven together to make the backrests and seats for certain types of chairs – particularly in England. Rattan was a relatively common feature in chairs produced in the Baroque and Rococo eras. In those days the novelty of the material generated a huge amount of interest.
Walking canes were also often made from rattan. Many of us who belong to an older generation may well recall how our grandfathers relished telling tales of the strict schoolmistresses of their day, who would regularly threaten the more boisterous of their small charges with the cane. An instrument of torture for naughty boys and girls that was always prominently displayed beside the blackboard. How grateful we can be that corporal punishment no longer has a part to play in today’s educational curriculum.
This handsome chair with arms was most likely purchased in France some time in the late 1980s. It shares its current home with a number of siblings – seven, to my reckoning – in the dining room of a fine old house on Sweden’s south coast.
If you ask me, cane chairs are the most talkative of all their kin. A little human contact is all that is required for them to start cheerily conversing with the creaks and squeaks that characterise their preferred mode of communication. They often continue to chatter on, not only long after you have risen from the chair itself, but even after you have departed from the room where it stands. One old friend of mine once assured me that her wicker chair could still be heard creaking in its own inimitable way a full day after she had last set foot in the room.
Gun Bjerkander Handberg
Notes from the Editor:
On this New Years Eve we are grateful for all those who have followed our blog, commented and liked our chair tales and have support our Please Be Seated book series. It has been such a challenging year for many and we are deeply aware of how fortunate we are to have been able to continue our publishing journey online and with the occasional socially distanced-meeting, wrapped up warm with a glass of something comforting in hand!
This year marks the final book in our three part series and we are delighted with how our last publishing offering has turned out! Chairs and dogs…..such a exquisite combination. If you have not yet discovered it online you can find it now, Please Be Seated – Winnie & Bessie.
A very happy and healthy New Year to all.