Fine dining didn’t really come into its own until the 18th century. Up ‘til then, for the wealthy, dining was a much larger affair held in great halls with everyone sitting alongside large trestle tables with the lord of the manor sitting at its head.
It was during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14) that more intimate dining became popular. The Queen Anne antique dining chair is very elegant, has a broad seat, high back with cresting rail and vase shaped uncarved splat, rather than pierced like mid 18th century examples by Chippendale and others. Fine examples of the cabriole legs often had shell motifs carved on the knees and the leg ended in a ball and claw foot. There was a choice of seat even at this early stage which could be either drop in or stuff over and these antique chairs formed the prototype for many 18th century chairs.
These early dining chairs were usually made of walnut and quality examples had generally more carving than cheaper made plainer versions, which were usually made out of beech, sometimes oak or other fruitwood. However, overuse of walnut and frosts in 1709 meant that by 1720 supplies of mature walnut trees were running low. Mahogany was becoming the wood of choice and it’s very close grain was suitable for carving and piercing and produced a beautiful silk polished finish. These later mahogany dining chairs resembled the earlier Queen Anne examples but, by 1740, the fashion for French Rococo styling meant that furniture design generally was becoming more elaborate.
When looking for Queen Anne and early Georgian period and revival Victorian dining chairs , Lancashire and Cumbria dealers will help you to find some choice examples.
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