For the past thousand year or two, that everyday object we sit on at our desk or pull up to our dinning table was an object of great importance and formality.
The humble chair has been sitting about for around for 2 millenniums but originally it was in a very ornate and decorated form and used only for heads of state and religious dignitaries, more the symbol of great importance and state dignity rather than a general seating item.
The chair as we know it today did not come into general use until the 16th century and even then was only to those who could afford such a luxury. Until then people had used more utilitarian furniture such as chests and stools for seating. Over the next few years in Europe the chair became a staple item of household furniture.
|A good pair of panelled back oak chairs circa 1720's available from http://www.jaynethompsonantiques.com/|
|A pair of European oak Gothic throne seats|
Styles of chair have changed probably more than any other piece of furniture and are still evolving according to fashions even this very day.
To see anything but old pictures of a very early example of chair is rare as most have been worn or destroyed over the years but there is a few in museums around Europe.
The Victorian period in the UK brought a variety of styles from a fine mahogany bowed back chair with slender tapering legs to a heavy set carved oak chair. In France the styles were relatively similar except the carving in my opinion seems to be slightly more concise and detailed on generally all French furniture compared to English designs.
|2 of a set of 10 carved oak Victorian dinning chairs available from www.antiquefurniture.tv|
|A fine set of 6 Victorian mahogany dinning chairs circa 1860 available from www.vaaltd.ca|
|A set of 6 19th century French ballroom chairs available from www.eastandorient.com|
As the styles moved into the 20th century the designs flourished, from Art Noveau to Art Deco and then there was individual styles such as the bentwood chair made in Europe by shaping the round chair fame over steam and fitting pressed laminated seats.
|A pair of fine Art Noveau side chairs available from Vacobra on 504-525-6363|
|A pair of 1930 Bentwood chairs available from www.oldplank.com|
As the 1960's & 70's crept up we saw the start of one piece moulded plastic chairs and then the now very widely used Eames style chair.
|An Eames molded plastic chair http://store.hermanmiller.com/store/servlet/dynamicKit__10151_-1_10051_384|
|1 of a set of 4 moulded plastic children's chairs by Alexander Begge available from www.french50s60s.com|