One of the most enduring designs of the Victorian era was the balloon back chair. Fine and more intimate dining had become fashionable since the beginning of the 18th century where good examples of dining chairs were being made in walnut. As the century progressed, because of walnut shortages, mahogany became the wood of choice, and designers like Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton all created variations of the chair dependent upon the styles of the day.
Factory production during the Victorian era meant that good looking and quite elaborately designed antique chairs, tables and cabinets could be made to satisfy a growing middle class market. Something that combined old fashioned elegance with the strength and comfort of earlier handmade chairs was the balloon back chair. The back as the ‘balloon’ suggests, had a smoothly carved rail that ballooned upwards, then the whole was nipped in at the seat to form the rounded effect. Increasingly sophisticated manufacturing methods produced clever jointing that was almost impossible to see and which was able to produce a real element of comfort for the sitter. The front baluster legs were turned and tapering in varying widths to withstand the differing sizes and weights of patrons and the stuffed over seat often covered in leather or other durable materials and stuffed with horsehair was well padded for comfort. By the 1840s, large numbers of this type of antique dining chair were being made in sets for Victorian parlours and dining rooms.
When looking for fine examples of these Victorian balloon shape antique dining chairs in Preston , Lancashire or Cumbria, go and visit an antiques dealer who will be pleased to advise you on design and quality.
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