When looking for 18th century antique dining chairs , it is interesting to note that these well made and beautifully proportioned pieces of furniture have only really been in existence since the beginning of the century. Before 1700, most people sat at benches along trestle tables and where you were placed at the table denoted your social status within the household. It was only the owner of the house and very special guests placed at the head of the table, who sat in comfortable armchairs.
The dining chair came into its own during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14). The broad padded seat, high back and the fashion for the cabriole leg all produced from walnut made a highly decorative, well balanced piece of furniture that could accommodate most shapes and size of dinner guest.
By the mid 18th century, Thomas Chippendale had already established the dining chair as an essential part of fine furnishings by providing his patrons with choices of style and design. Detailed drawings from his Director allowed people to choose whether Gothic, Rococo or Chinese styling would suit their décor best and the piercing of the splat would denote the choice made.
As the century wore on, increasingly classical lines and styling became popular. Designers like George Hepplewhite were introducing shield shaped backs to their dining chairs, and Thomas Sheraton took styling to an almost minimalist level by producing a much simpler rectilinear type of chair. Predominantly, all antique dining chairs from the 1730s onwards were made from imported mahogany as home grown walnut had suffered from overuse and blight.
18th century dining chairs have been revived and copied many times. When looking for a good set of period or revival antique dining chairs in Cumbria or Lancashire, quality antique dealers can help to source them.
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