A Guide to Chairs

A Guide to Chairs

A Guide to chairs…

Even as a long term admirer of chair 'form' it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed by the vast array of styles, art movements and time periods associated with the seemingly simple chair.

As an aid to myself, and hopefully others I’ve started to put together a guide to…
It is an ongoing process and by no means set in stone, so if I’ve left out the blindingly obvious or you have some information/suggestions that might be useful, then please contact me via social media, leave a comment below or e-mail me at Sarah@antiqueforsale.co.uk.

Caquetoire: A Conversation chair, sometimes called a gossip chair. Popular during the 16th century, this largely French produced renaissance chair was supposedly designed for ladies to sit and gossip. Features include a high narrow back and curved arms, designed to accommodate the wide skirts worn at the time, it is very wide at the front and narrowed towards the back. They are made mainly from Walnut, so they might be elaborately carved.

Queen Anne Style: Early 18th century style of chair inspired by 17th century Dutch high back designs. Earlier designs will typically have solid back splats with later designs have more ornate splats. The curvaceous cabriole legs end with claw and ball feet.

Louis XIV: Mid 18th century Chairs became more comfortable as women led the trend for conversation within the informality of salons. These more feminine chairs had upholstered seats, back and arm rests: the arms being set back from the front to accommodate the hooped skirts, fashionable at the time. Look for Bergere’s and fauteuils: Bergere’s have upholstered side panels and the Fauteuil has open sides.

Louis XVI: Can be referred to as ‘transitional’ as they are caught between both Rococo and Neoclassical styles. King Louis and his young wife Marie Antoinette greatly influenced the fashions and styles in every area of their lives. Beautiful silk upholstery and oval backs, which gradually became squarer as the trend for neo classicism grew.



Chippendale: Thomas Chippendale 1718-79 worked in London, his book The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director was produced in 1754 and the designs copied by furniture makers in Britain, the US and colonies. Little furniture can be directly attributed to Chippendale but the style endured. Inspired by French Rococo, Chinoiserie, Neoclassical and the Gothic revival.

Hepplewite: George Hepplewhite popularized the shield back pattern in The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterers Guide 1788-94.


Biedermeier style: C.1815-1848 Inspired by Empire period French furniture with the German bourgeoisie’s sense of unpretentious elegance. The word Biedermeier, was invented by two German poets, Bieder meaning ‘Honest’ and Meier, a common German surname.

Thonet No 14: One of the first genuine consumer products and one of the most successful of the nineteenth century. Michael Thonet showed chairs made of solid, bent rosewood at The Great Exhibition of 1851 and by the 1860’s was mass-producing.
The original mould is from the 1850s and is made of six pieces of wood, ten screws, two washers and some wicker for the seat.

Charles Eames Lounge Chair (LCW): American designers Charles Eames (1907-78) and Ray Eames (1912 – 88) were very influential architects and furniture/textiles designers. Their pioneering use of new materials and technologies for domestic furniture combined to produce LCW circa 1956, truly an iconic chair. They also produced the iconic, DCW – side chair 1946, Wire side chair 1951

Le Corbusier Chaise Lounge LC-4: Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1887- 1965) was an architect, designer and writer. He once famously said, “ Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois” His furniture is iconic and includes LC1- sling chair, LC-4 (1928) the chaise lounge, also dubbed the ‘relaxing machine’ LC-2 the armchair and the LC7 (1929) swivel chair. Cassina in Italy holds the exclusive worldwide license.

B3 Wassily chair: 1925 by Marcel Breuer

Tank Chair: Also known as armchair 400, designed by Alvar Aalto in 1936. A Finnish architect and designer, he designed this chair for the Milan Triennale, characterised by its wide armrests and sturdy seat, is now considered a design classic.

Egg: Arne Jacobsen designed this chair in 1958 for the Lobby and reception of the Copenhagen Royal Hotel. Now considered an enduring symbol of 20th century design.

Tulip: Eero Saarinen, a Finnish architect famed for the TWA terminal building at New York’s JFK airport also designed the tulip chair 1955-56.

Panton Chair: The first chair to be made from a single piece of plastic, 1968-1999 designed by Verner Panton.

Universale: Designed by artist Joe Colombo in 1965-67. Driven by a loathing of sharp corners and straight lines, this was an easy to clean stackable chair, which used ABS plastic.

Wiggle side chair: Frank O. Gehry designed this chair made from corrugated cardboard and hardboard in 1972.

Air chair: Designed by Jasper Morrison in 1999, this easy stacking chair is made from gas-injected polypropylene.



Related Posts

Purchasing an antique from the Victorian period can be considered as one of your smartest financial decisions of the year - what other investments can be so satisfying and offer this much fun?