Take a Seat: 300 Years of Chair Design

The Winter 2016 event will focus on one of the most popular purchases made at the Decorative Antiques & Textile Fairs. Take A Seat: Three Hundred Years of Chair Design will be the foyer feature, with examples drawn from exhibitors. The display will demonstrate the evolution of chair styles from the 1700s and 1800s, Arts and Crafts, Modernist, and architect-designed pieces. All items will be for sale.

Chairs offered at the Fair come in every guise, so the display will incorporate a review of tastes and designs spanning all eras:

  • Jointed and high-back designs from the 17th and 18th centuries including regional vernacular variations
  • Country stick-back chairs from Wales, the West Country and Windsor (very much a la mode in current country-inspired interiors)
  • Georgian pieces by master cabinetmakers in Sheraton, Chippendale & Regency designs
  • 18th and 19th century European salon chairs with painted finishes
  • Arts & Crafts aesthetic designs
  • Chairs by named designers and architects such as Bugatti, Perriand, Niko Kralj, PhilippeStarck and Philip Arctander

Here are just a few examples!


Hatchwell Antiques

Mahogany Gainsborough chair, English circa 1760. A Gainsborough chair is the name given to a type of English armchair made in the mid-18th century. A wide chair with a high back, the sides are open, and the short arms are set well back from the seat, to which they are connected by a concave curving support. The arm supports and front legs are usually fluted or carved on the front face. In the 19th century the chair style was named after the painter Thomas Gainsborough, since many of his sitters are posed sitting in one in his portraits. Also known as a Martha Washington chair in the United States.

LaPlace-Painted Swedish Armchair

La Place Antiques

18th century Swedish Armchair with original, old paint. A much simpler organic form restrained, in style and colour compared to a French or Italian Chair of similar date. The wood used is Beech.

Wakelin & Linfield - Double Comb Back Primitive Windsor Chair, webres

Wakelin & Linfield

A rare early 19th century hoop back primitive Windsor chair with integral shaped comb. Constructed in ash, a popular and durable choice for country (vernacular) chairs. Circa 1800.

CallaghansOfShrewsburyBugatti thronechair

Callaghan Fine Paintings

Circular Throne Chair designed by Carlo Bugatti (1856 – 1940), made of walnut. It features a calf Vellum seat and hand-painted illumination, inlaid with pewter, brass and applied hand-beaten copper. With original silk tassels and an original Bugatti label from Milan. Circa 1902.


Nick Jones

This wonderfully sculptural ‘Clam’ chair is a rare design by the Danish architect Philip Arctander (1916-1994), a re-discovered icon of early mid- century modern design, widely regarded as Philip Arctander’s career masterpiece.

The ‘Clam’ chair had previously been attributed to Norwegian designers Martin Olsen or Viggo Boesen, but recent scholarship has identified Arctander as its true author. Formerly the chair would pop up at minor Danish auctions, listed as being of unknown origin, and sell for around £140. However, since its attribution to Arctander, the price has started to soar; one fetched 150,000 DKK (£14,000) at a Copenhagen sale in 2013.

L&V - Charlotte Perriand chairs 2

L & V Art and Design

A pair of black leather and chromed steel stacking chairs designed by Charlotte Perriand for Les Arcs Ski Resort. French circa 1960.

The renowned architect and designer CharlottePerriand (1903-1999) is considered to be one of the most influential designers of the Modern Movement. During her career she worked with both Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. Her aim was to create functional living spaces in the belief that better design helps to create a better society.

Les Arcs ski resort is located in Savoie, France. The developers, Robert Blanc and Roger Godino, placed Charlotte Perriand in charge of the design which was inspired by Le Corbusier’s reflections on the modern city. Perriand devoted twenty years of her life (1967 to 1987) to this project, gathering around her a collection of architects and town planners who shared the same convictions of the modern movement. Under her leadership the various departments: town planning, architecture and equipment worked in complete harmony and her designs for the interior created a style unique to Les Arcs.

300 years of chairs