The balloon back chair is one of the many success stories of the Victorian era.
As a machine produced chair, its design was very much part of organic Rococo styling which was being revived during the middle of the 19th century. Its rounded back and nipped in waist also made it a very comfortable chair to sit on.
The balloon back chair essentially was made as a dining room chair although lighter versions were used in other parts of the house. Examples for the dining room had strong machine turned front legs, usually baluster in shape and often reeded with vertical grooves. The back legs were usually plain and would sweep into the balloon back which again gave this effortlessly smooth line to the chair.
Seats to these chairs were generally stuffed over a pad of horsehair which was held in the seat frame with webbing and contained underneath with canvas. Seat covers could be in leather, silks, velvet or Berlin wool work and were attached with studs to the outside of the seating rail.
The plainer balloon back with strong reeded baluster legs produced a very comfortable chair that moulded itself well into all shapes and size of diner for long periods of time. Some of these chairs were made from rosewood, mahogany and American walnut with beech or birch seat frames. Less expensive ones were made of lighter woods which were stained to imitate the finer examples. Earlier chairs had drop in seats where later chairs had stuffed over seats.
If you are searching for Victorian dining chairs in Lancashire, then antique dealers in Preston or elsewhere should be able to help.
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