Wingin’ It: The Wing back Chair, Old and New
Posted on August 10, 2012
The Wing back chair first came on the scene in the 1600s in England where cold weather made the roaring fireplace the gathering spot of the house. Originally it was designed to help keep you warm. Women lounged in wingback chairs to protect their upper chests, as a result of dress typically worn at the time, from cold drafts. Gaining popularity in 1720, the design was initially constructed solely from wood with flat, broad arms.
In the 18th century the chair began getting more comfortable and elegant with the incorporation of upholstery and more architectural detail.
It also began to be stuffed with horsehair for more comfort and then covered in velvet to imitate French styles of the time. It wasn’t until the 18-century that the well-traveled wing back finally made its way from English castles and houses in the Netherlands to American homes. American wing chairs (also called easy chairs) were reserved for the bedroom, and during the Victorian times, were often associated with elderly people sitting silently in their rooms. Enter: the grandfather chair.
Today Wing back chairs are as popular as ever and are still designed to have as classic a look. Nowadays, the emphasis is much more on style and aesthetics then on comfort or practicality. Even modern designers have created their interpretations of the wing back, such as these stars:
(From Dwell studio, Aqua Vitae Design, James Design UK, the ‘Star Trek’ of the Ceccotti Collection, Dixon chair.)
However, personally I am still more drawn to, or I should say rather obsessed with, some new but classic designs. Here are some favorites from around the web.
And lastly, because I am truly obsessed, here are some beautiful rooms in which wing backs play a staring role:
And very lastly, wing back beds!!
Hope you enjoyed!