Sets of antique dining chairs have retained their popularity over the years, whether period or revival. However, dining chairs more than any other pieces of antique furniture continue to be used for their original purpose and there are certain considerations that need to be taken into account whether buying for investment or for continued usage as furniture.
Period or revival
The Victorian era is one of many revivals and there is a deal of difference between the period and revival antique dining chair . Where a verified well provenanced period Chippendale chair could fetch many thousands of pounds, a well made Chippendale revival chair made 100 years later would fetch between £400 and £700, so only a fraction of the period example price. None of Chippendale’s furniture was actually marked so the only provenance would be via original bills and very few period dining chairs were actually made by Chippendale himself.
Another telltale is the irregularity of the hand crafted joinery in earlier period pieces compared to the exacting machine designed revival pieces. Even well made revivals will not have the carved depth and detail of the period chair. Other period details include evidence of hand sawing, hand forged rather than machined nails and some evidence of wood shrinkage. Period wood was slow grown and dense in appearance compared to the looser grain of the younger trees used to make later revival chairs.
Restoration and numbers
One point to note when buying antique dining chairs is that most sets were numbered by the cabinet maker. Also check the back legs for signs of restoration and weakness and ensure that the seat frames are made of beech which allows for stuff-over nailing without splitting the frame.
Fine examples of period and revival antique dining chairs can be found through dealers in Preston, Lancashire, Cumbria and across the UK.
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