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Monday, 7 September 2015

A man who knew how to make chairs



Not a thing of beauty because it is merely an old rocker, but for me this sturdy little chair is appealing in much the same kind of way. Possibly late Georgian it is made of fruitwood – apple or pear probably. The rush seat is not original of course but authentic enough. On close inspection it is just possible to see the faintest hints of adze marks on the top rail.

Never designed for anywhere but the stone flags of a cottage, it is comfortable enough even without cushions. The maker added a curve in the back to give some lumbar support although one couldn’t sit for hours on it gaping at the TV. 

It has a subdued shine but most of that is down to the patina of age and my pot of beeswax. No servant was ever tasked with polishing it once a week on pain of a scolding. Maybe it was a woman’s chair, those low arms designed to allow elbow room for sewing, knitting or feeding the latest baby.

Or perhaps father sat there after work in his muck and pit boots while the tin bath in front of the fire was filled with hot water. Supping his pint mug of tea, pulling at his clay pipe, spitting black phlegm into the grate.

It wasn’t made efficiently as we so bleakly understand efficiency, but by a man who knew how to make chairs. 

8 comments:

Sam Vega said...

Old rockers rarely retain their beauty. Mick Jagger, for example, is looking a lot rougher than your chair despite being a good ten years younger.

Michael said...

That's a lovely design, understated, but perfect in detail.

I think you're right about it being a woman's chair too!

James Higham said...

Very much appealing, AKH.

A K Haart said...

Sam - much rougher, although I bet he doesn't have any old worm holes in his lower regions.

Michael - yes it is an attractive design and I agree about it probably being a woman's chair. We don't do that these days do we - different chairs for men and women?

James - it is appealing. The simplicity of it as well as the age.

Demetrius said...

Odd, isn't it that in the old days they knew how to make chairs but now the art seems to have been lost.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - some still do it but at a price.

Woodsy42 said...

Good isn't it. That chair is many years old, still works perfectly, needs no external power, doesn't require internet access, registration or a password to use it and does a useful job. I think we have forgotten more than the art of chair making.

A K Haart said...

Woodsy - I agree. The art of making things last has escaped us completely.