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Arts and Crafts Movement Chairs
Dining chairs were marked by a rustic style derived from vernacular chairs, such as the solid-seated Windsor chair and the rush-seated Ladder back chair, in ash, elm, beech and other woods. Morris & Co gave these styles a new twist in their low-backed spindle chairs usually ebonised in the Aesthetic vogue. Other producers in general favoured a higher backed chair with a leather, or fabric, drop-in seat. The back featured single or multiple splats, often shaped, sometimes pierced or lightly carved, and occasionally with a copper or needlework panel forming the top of the chair back. Here the primary emphasis was on height – a characteristic taken to an extreme in the designs of C R Macintosh.
Upholstered, especially sprung, seating was still in its relative infancy in the 19th century. Rather than armchairs and sofas, Arts and Crafts designers favoured variations on the theme of the medieval Settle – wooden, high backed, sometimes winged, with traditional seating materials of rush or cane. However seating of this type was often softened with upholstery, and the drop-end Knole sofa remained in vogue. Around the turn of the 20th Century there was a trend toward occasional armchairs, in varying size, with sprung seats, wooden slatted or spindled arms, and sometimes reclining backs – examples of these can be found, for example in Liberty’s catalogues of the time.