Does anyone know the origin of this chair? Value?

Discussion in 'Furniture' started by John Miller, May 15, 2019.

  1. John Miller

    John Miller Member

  2. Dawnno

    Dawnno Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I'm not a furniture collector, but found the style intriguing, and, for sure, that style doesn't seem to want to be easily found online. But I found one similar in structure, which doesn't necessarily mean anything:
    http://www.chipstone.org/images.php...merican-Board-Seated-Turned-Chairs,-1640–1740
    [​IMG]


    Great chair, South Africa, eighteenth century. Possibly stinkwood. H. 32", W. 23 3/4", D. 15 1/2". (Private collection; photo, H. K. J. Roos.)

    Yours has a 19th C feel to it, maybe early, especially the painting which has a 'primitive' "toleware" look to it to me and reminds me of old Pa Dutch wooden chests. And the rush seat seems to be in great condition (maybe rewoven?) to be very old. Just my impressions and something to get the ball rolling; maybe the furniture people will steer you in the right direction.

    Also, given the international nature of this forum, any clues as to which country it was last seen in? Like, Virginia? (not a country, I know). Might help narrow it down
     
  3. Dawnno

    Dawnno Well-Known Member

    also, are those felt pads on the feet? The feet don't look very worn down, and the turnings look very even, so it has a bit of a 'factory made' feel to it. Again, just throwing out the observations, waiting on somebody that knows.
     
  4. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    oh no...the dreaded 3 legged chair....again..! :playful::playful:
     
  5. Ghopper1924

    Ghopper1924 Well-Known Member

    :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    Yes, again!

    Although this one was also inspired by centuries gone by, I'd say its ca. 1880, NE American. Nice!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  6. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Yeah, oh boy, what's with the interest in these chairs i wonder.
    Generally speaking
    These chairs are called "turner chairs" because originally they were turned on a pole lathe in the 17th century.
    Period examples are primarily Dutch & English
    No one knows exactly why they were built, some say because of uneven floors of the day, some say "turners conceit", turners showing off their skills.
    There are no known American period examples
     
  7. John Miller

    John Miller Member

    I put the felt pads on the chair because we just had our hardwood floors refinished.
     
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  8. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    and what nice floors , those are !
    nice chair too !
    i always see those as corner of the room chairs.........:):)
     
  9. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    If you notice, the OP chair has a woven seat instead of the usual period chair "boarded" seat. The boarded seat of period chairs makes this an extremely difficult build. Turners conceit perhaps?
    " To trap the seat board on all three sides, the rails of three-post stools had to be set at the same level. This created a problem, because the tenons entering each post intersected with each other. Makers overcame this problem by using a round tenon at one end of each seat rail and a square tenon at the other end (fig. 8). On each post the smaller round tenon passed through the larger rectangular tenon, creating an interlocking joint. Usually, the round tenons were pinned to prevent them from withdrawing from their mortises. In addition to creating a stronger joint, the rectangular tenons prevented the seat rails from rotating under the weight of the sitter and causing the seat board to slip out of place."
    smTrent-08.jpg
     
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  10. Dawnno

    Dawnno Well-Known Member

    The turners foresaw the day there would be antique forums on the Internet, and said "Boy are we going to F with them..." Fun with them. Have some.
     
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  11. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    It's one of those old furniture oddities (there are many out there) waiting patiently for a furniture scholar to come along and solve this riddle of why these chairs were made.
    Of the 2 main theories, i used to be in the "uneven floor" camp but since these chairs are notoriously unstable i have switched to the "turners conceit" camp.
    Naturally, both of these leading theories of today could be totally wrong. 3 leg/post stools were common in the period as well as today however, when you make a chair from that design, it just doesn't work out.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  12. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Stools, no matter how many legs they have, you must be centered on them when sitting, chairs on the other hand you can "lean" left or right, it's this leaning where these 3 leg chairs lose their function so, why build them?
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  13. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    This 1670 Dutch painting by Jan Steen, "Family Scene" illustrates the point perfectly, notice the lady in the chair who is feeling no pain, leaning the only way possible in this type of chair, straight back.

    family_scene.jpg

    "What’s going on at this rowdy family party?

    Here, Jan Steen exposes the spectacle of a rowdy family gathering. At the centre of the chaos, a mother restrains her toddler who stands on the table and reaches towards the plume of smoke curling up from the father’s pipe. It’s a clever illustration of the Dutch proverb: ‘as the old pipe, so pipe the young’, meaning that children mimic their parents’ behaviour. And here, the behaviour is less than ideal… In the foreground, a richly-dressed woman leans back in drunken abandon, a wine pitcher dangling from her hand. At the right foreground, an overturned bowl and broken eggs are evidence of the family’s carelessness. A servant girl carries a fresh pie into the room, but the over-indulged family have still left half-eaten waffles and pastries on the table. And in the background, a couple of sombrely dressed visitors seem to disapprove of this uncouth household. Prosperity gave the Dutch middle class access to a rather luxurious lifestyle, but over-indulgence was at odds with their values of temperance and humility. No painter illustrated this irony better than Jan Steen."
     
  14. Dawnno

    Dawnno Well-Known Member

    AH. eureka! @James Conrad you've cracked the conundrum! It's not turner's conceit, or uneven floors, it's a sobriety safety stool invented for drunks. ;)

    Three legged chairs virtually can't tip over. Look at the "richly-dressed woman [who] leans back in drunken abandon" ... keep drinking and she'll just gently fall into a heap instead as she slides out... and although Jan Steen's doesn't have the 'back rail' as does the OP's model, that must have been a "safety improvement" like a seat belt so a drunk just slouches further and further back and gets caught in it like a bucket until they sleep it off and sober up.

    It's a great turner buddy flying wingman for a friend. Turner and Drinker were out one night too many when Turner had his moment: "You have GOT to try this when drunk... no more forehead bruises..."

    Sorry, it's a Dutch buddy wingman: "Yeuve GOT te tray dis ventrunk... no more foreheed brewses..."
     
  15. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    me thinks that yon lady has too much a rotund tush for that chair .....;)
    she wears it like a thong !:happy:
     
  16. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

  17. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

  18. John Miller

    John Miller Member

    Wowzers ! Some very interesting factoids surrounding the history of this infamous 3 legged chair. Thank you for all the insight and photos. I didn't we realize we owned such a unique chair with a long, rich history!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  19. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    instead of "factoid" I'd rather add the idea that Worpswede is rather near to the Netherlands with everything an emigration region needs - windmills and useless, sandy soil. then NE America makes sense as well.
    so maybe a European form that was interpreted and altered in the US.
     
  20. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    LOL, Yeah, that sounds about right! :hilarious:
    The odd thing is, these chairs were a natural extension of 3 leg stools which are made even today but, after it was determined that as a chair they had VERY limited function and considering the extreme difficult build dealio, why were so many built?
     
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