When considering early English furniture, we tend to think of heavy and cumbersome pieces of extensively carved oak that need large rooms and strong floors to accommodate it. However during the Cromwellian period and the reign of Charles II, living styles were changing and furniture was becoming smaller, lighter and finer. The Restoration period as it is called when Charles was restored to the English throne, produced many pieces of furniture that would fit into smaller homes today. Cane was being used in seating and backs of chairs for added comfort, and fine carving in the style of Grinling Gibbons (1648-1720) used to embellish the chair generally. Backs were high and upright and the whole chair narrow in appearance. Also the use of walnut rather than oak was becoming increasingly popular.
Although these chairs would seem to be ideal as dining chairs, because of their age and construction, some can be quite rickety. They can also be expensive and sets of them will be difficult to find. However this type of chair was revived during the Victorian period and these pieces tend to be more robust and generally more comfortable. Be aware too that numbers of these high backed chairs can look overly formal around a dining table, but it is all a matter of taste. There are upholstered versions of this chair to be found and sometimes the canework has been replaced by velvet which creates a generally softer look. Also buying the odd chair to create a harlequin set can produce something very interesting, and one or two period Restoration chairs in a hallway can look very fine indeed.
Collecting these wonderful old chairs can be very satisfying. When looking for period and revival antique dining chairs , Lancashire dealers will be very glad to help you in your quest.
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