Search

Skip Navigation|

STICK-BACK OR COMB-BACKED CHAIRS

The development of these various types of primitive chair has built up from the basic three legged stool. Having three legs allows for more stability on uneven floors. Many primitive chairs were painted with green paint during the Georgian period and this became almost a fashion. The green paint of this period invariably contains arsenic.

1 Natural

The first, primitive chairs were made by selecting the most suitable piece of timber that was pliable enough to be shaped into the form of arms and back. A sturdy seat was made from the lower part of the tree where there was an irregular pattern. The legs and supports were shaped with a plane or rasp. They were held together using wooden pegs rather than joints. These could be called 'scruff chairs'.

2 Constructed

The back and arms are made by riving a chosen L shaped timber, positioning the two pieces to mirror each other to form a curve and attaching both together with an extended lap-joint. Spoke-shaved or draw-knifed spindles are used but in some cases octagonal or turned legs are made.

3 Formed

A more developed type of chair is produced by making the back and arm rest out of a thinner piece of timber which has been curved by using steam forming a bow. The spindles and legs are again spokeshaved but secured into position with wedges. These are called bow back chairs and were the forerunners of the Windsor back chairs.

The dating of primitive chairs can be difficult since this type of chair was made in country areas from the middle ages through to the end of the nineteenth century. Also, the lack of any decoration makes dating difficult since decorative features can bracket a design to a particular period. Any attempt at dating must therefore rely on methods of construction and finish.

Brown, John, Welsh Stick Chairs, (Abercastle Publications, Fishguard)

STICK-BACK OR COMB-BACKED CHAIRS

CHAIRS DISPLAY

FURNITURE DISPLAY, INTRODUCTION