Although the modern armchair has it roots in the mid 17th century, where wealthy households were beginning to own fixed padded chairs, it was during the reign of Queen Victoria that upholstered chairs became commonplace with the onset of mass production and the invention of the coiled spring. Of these upholstered armchairs, it was the wing chair particularly that became very popular and remains so to this day.
Large numbers of these chairs were made from the 1860s onwards and typical of the Victorian era, were often revivals in style. For example many were built in the Queen Anne style with the walnut cabriole leg reminiscent of that era, and others after the designs of Thomas Chippendale with less pronounced mahogany rather than the earlier walnut legs.
For reasons of comfort, the stuffing of the chair was considered most important where American cotton, horsehair and wool waste were used. The chair was extremely versatile and could be found throughout the house and the type of upholstery or covers suggested where it was used. Examples were that leather upholstered wing chairs were more for the gentlemen’s use in the libraries where damask or velvet were for the ladies in the drawing room. In line with Victorian taste, elaborate piping, swags, tassels and fringes could also be added. The chair was also used below stairs and covers here would be less flamboyant, probably plain cotton or linen. Most Victorian Revival Wing Chairs were made of beech, birch or ash rather than walnut or mahogany of the earlier period versions.
Fine examples of the Victorian Wing Chair and other antique chairs can be found through many antique dealerships in the UK, including those selling antiques in Preston.
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