Dutch Type Of Chairs

The new style, which we have seen foreshadowed in the preceding illustrations, was, from the structural point of view, a distinct advance in the evolution toward lightness. It seems strange that, a few years after the very elaborate carved cane chairs were in' vogue, the wheels of fashion should have turned to such simplicity.

The chief characteristics of the style were the use of the cyma curve in the place of straight lines wherever possible and the introduction for the first time of the splat, which has become the distinguishing feature of the English and colonial

Georgian Period Fabric
Chair showing Dutch influence, 1710-20. Chair showing Dutch influence, 171» 20.

chairs of the Georgian period. f he style originated in Holland, but was developed in England and the colonies more than at the place of its birth. It will be hard to overestimate the importance of this new style. It came into fashion about 1700, and it intluenced the cha--s for the entire century. The backs were composed of two cyma curves so placed that the stiles form a conf'iuous curve with the top. The back is raked in a cyma curve. (See side view of chaii, Figure 494.) The front legs are composed of this curve, as is often the seat; the splat is of wood so cut as to leave a uniform space between its edge and the stiles. (See Figure 496.)

"he splat, at first plain, became more and more ornate, until in Chippendale's time it became the principal part ornamented.

An example of an early form is shown n tigure 494. This type is found quite commonly in New P^ngland and is usually made of maple or walnut. The

Figure 49J-

Chair showing Dutch influence, 1710-*°-

Chippendale Dutch Influence
Figure 494. Chairs in Dutch style, 1710-30.

Figure 495. Chairs in Dutch style, about 1725.

Figure 495. Chairs in Dutch style, about 1725.

Characteristics Boston Furniture Legs

legs are underbraced with turned stretchers, a survival of an earlier period, and the legs terminate in club or Dutch feet. One of the characteristics of these chairs is the chamfered edges of the rear legs between the stretchers. These chairs belong to the Misses Andrews.

Figure 495 shows the next form of this style of chair. The general appearance is the same as that shown in the preceding figure except that the under-bracing has been done away with. The seats are in the same curves with the rounded front and the bandy legs terminate in Dutch feet. These chairs belonged to Dr. Ezekiel Porter and date about 1730.

Figure 496 shows an arm-chair in this style in which the cyma curves are quite exaggerated, and the piece well illustrates the fact that the splat obtained its shape by making a uniform space between the solid centre and the stiles. The underbrac-ing is curved and not turned except between the rear legs. The seat is composed of straight lines instead of curves which indicate a little later date. The bandy legs terminate in pointed Dutch feet. It is a form found more commonly in the South.

Figure 498. Chair in Dutch style, about 1725.

Figure 497 shows a chair in the Dutch style. The lines of the back, instead of being in a cyma curve, have a rounded section at the top and then continue down straight. The seat is curved in the usual manner of the earlier chairs, and the legs are cabriole terminating in Dutch feet. On either side of the knees are carved scrolls. The underbracing consists of two curved pieces of wood extending from the front to the rear legs, with another circular piece adjoining them at the centre, as in the preceding figure, which is a rather unusual feature on American chairs. The wood is walnut. This chair is one of a set and is the property of Mr. Thomas G. Hazard, Jr., of Narragansett Pier.

A well-proportioned arm-chair of the period is shown in Figure 498. The splat is solid but it is not cut in the conventional fiddle shape. The seat is curved and at the centre of the front rail is carved a shell. A shell with pendent flowers is carved on each knee and the legs terminate in bird's claw and ball feet. The arms, as is usual in chairs of this period, are very graceful. The chair is the property of the Titfany Studios.

. he surface of the stiles of these cha'rs is often rounded instead of flat.

Hie claw and hall foot has been known for many years ifl metal work and was found on pieces in the early seventeenth century. It also is occasionally found on the cane pieces, but in such pieces t is generally an animal's instead of a bird's claw on the ball, It does not seem to have been at all common in furniture until after 1710. It began to appear n the inventories about 1737. At that date at Boston "6 crow foot chairs" are mentioned, and in 17^0 "7 chairs

Figure 499. Chairs n Dutch style, about 1725.

with eagle feet and shells on the knees"; and at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1745, claw-foot furniture of various kmds is mentioned; ten years at least can he safely deducted from that date to detern ine when the style appeared.

lie style originated with the Dutch and it is generally believed to have been an adaptation of the Chinese design of the dragon's claw grasping a pearl. The claw and ball feet were of two kinds, those representing an animal's claw on a ball and those representing a bird's claw. The former is more common in England than in America.

Figure 499 shows three chairs with different splats, all of them in the shapes known about 1730.

The one on the left is of walnut veneer and has a pierced splat. The one at the centre is of mahogany and has a carved shell in the crest and bird's claw and ball feet. I be one on the right is of Virginia walnut and the feet are of the pointed Dutch type.

One of the best designs of the period is shown in Figure 500. The back is high and graceful and at the top is a carved shell with scrolls at either side. The splat is well proportioned and slightly pierced. On the knees are carved shells and the feet are of the angular Dutch type with grooving, which is probably a survival of the Spanish foot and is the type most found in New Jersey and the South. This chair is the property of the writer.

Chairs such as these are often called Hogarth chairs, due to the fact that

Chair in Dutch style, about 1725. Chair in Dutch style, 1725-50.

in his "Analysis of Beauty" Hogarth maintains that the line of beauty is the cyma curve, and one of his illustrations is a chair of this type composed of cyma curves.

A very elaborate arm-chair of the period is shown in Figure 501 and is the property of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the cresting are five medallions. Within each are carved flowers. Below this is a large pendant of foliation and flowers. The splat is pierced, and on the edges are carved acanthus leaves and rosettes, and the same design is on the stiles under the arms. On the support of the arm are also carved acanthus leaves. The knees are carved with the same leaf and the legs terminate in animal's claw feet.

Figure 502 shows a seat of the Georgian period, the property of Mr. John J. Gilheit, of Baltimore. Many suites of chairs were made during this period in which were several seats of this sort. hey were finished alike on all sides, and the legs were in the fashion of the chairs, r ne legs ¡on this piece are cabriole, terrr. nating in bird's claw and ball feet, with a ring carved a little above the foot. On the knees are carved acanthus leaves and a scroll extending outward up onto the frame.

Figure 503 shows a style of chair known as a library chair belonging to the Dutch period. The back is built on a curve and is solid. The top is in circular form; the sides above the arms are b> a concave form, and below, the arms are cut in cyma curves. The seat of the chair s round. 1 he front legs are cabriole, term.'naring in Dutch feet with a high-pointed shoe. On the knees are carved shells with pendent flowers. The rear legs are straight, with turned bracing and are considerably closer together than are the front legs. The result is that the stretchers between the front ami the rear legs are turned in a curve until they reach the width of the rear legs, and are then straight, and are further strengthened by a turned spindle connecting the two outer stretchers at about the centre. This chair is the property of the Tiffany Studios.

Figure 504 shows an upholstered chair of the period, iff the possession of the writer. The back .s straight, and the only wood showing is found on the legs, the front ones be<ng cabriole, with bird's claw and ball feet, having a slight scroll carving on the inside under each knee.

We will now consider the simpler type of this form of chaii.

Figure 505 shows a style of Dutch chair in the form most commonly found about New York. The top and splat are in the characteristic style, but the stiles and legs are turned and terminate in Dutch feet. The swelling of the turning on the legs was probably intended to give a slight bandy effect. Another feature of these pieces is that the splat is set on a lower rai' -'nstead of nto the seat rail. This method of construction was quite common in tHs type of chairs abroad,

Figure 502. Seat :n Dutch style, about 1725.

Library Chair, Dutch style, about 1725.

Upholstered Chair, Dutch style, 1725-50.

Library Chair, Dutch style, about 1725.

Upholstered Chair, Dutch style, 1725-50.

Figure J05. Chairs in Dutch style, 1725-50.

especially on the Continent, but is usually found n America only on these simpler pieces, 'lhese chairs are the property of the writer.

Figure 506 shows two of these simpler chairs which are more commonly

Figure 50(1.

Chairs "1 Dutch style, common throughout the eighteenth century.

Figure 50(1.

Chairs "1 Dutch style, common throughout the eighteenth century.

found in New England, ' hey are made of maple with rush seats, and turned throughout, except for the top rail and the splat.

EASY-CHAI RS

Not all of the chairs of the early eighteenth century were as straight and austere as those above shown. J he records make frequent mention of easy-chairs. This form of chair had a high back and wings extending nto the arms, low seat, and was heavily cushioned and upholstered. In the inventories they were valued much higher than other chains, probably because of the fabric with which they were covered, which at this period was always imported. Most of these easy-chairs are of the period now under discussion. It is, therefore, thought, well to insert the illustrations of all of the types here, so that they may be studied together, rather than scatter them through the chapter in their chronological order. They appear in the nventories among the chamber furniture; L. New York, 1708, "An easy chair lined with red, £2. 10s."; in Boston, 1712, "an easy chair £1"; in 1713, another for £4; at Philadelphia, in 1720, "an easie chair £7. 10s."

rhe earliest form of easy-chair belonged to the cane period. It was upholstered and the legs and underbracing were carved in the manner of the cane chairs. None of these pieces have been found ii this country, and it is probable that the transition piece shown in Figure 507 is the earliest form here. There were two forms of the earlier type of this chair, one in which the front of the arms are finished in scrolls, as in this piece, and the other in which the front of the arms are straight. (See Figure 508.) In these types the arms extend only to the wings, never through to the back, the latter being the distinctive feature of the Hepplewhite form. (See Figure SI4)

F igure 507, it will be seen, has the earliest form of arms with the scroll finish. The legs are turned and the piece not only has the side, back, and centre stretchers, but also one across the front, which indicates an early

Turned Easy-Chair, 1700-10.

date, for the front turned stretcher is a survival of the carved stretcher of the former period. This piece is the property of Mr. Hollis French, of Boston.

Figure 508 shows an easy-chair with Easy-Chair, about 1725.

the second type of arm. The seat is much wider, probably due to the change of fashion of dress. The legs are cabriole, terminating in Dutch feet, and side, back, and centre stretchers strengthen the piece. The rear legs between the stretchers are chamfered in the early manner. This chair is the property of the writer.

Turned Easy-Chair, 1700-10.

date, for the front turned stretcher is a survival of the carved stretcher of the former period. This piece is the property of Mr. Hollis French, of Boston.

Figure 508 shows an easy-chair with Easy-Chair, about 1725.

the second type of arm. The seat is much wider, probably due to the change of fashion of dress. The legs are cabriole, terminating in Dutch feet, and side, back, and centre stretchers strengthen the piece. The rear legs between the stretchers are chamfered in the early manner. This chair is the property of the writer.

Figure 509 shows another chair with the second type of arm. It has a rounding seat with a cushion, and bandy legs terminating in Dutch feet; on each knee is carved a shell with a pendent flower, and the piece is underbraced in the manner shown in the preceding figure. This chair is the property of Mr. II. W. Erving, of Hartford.

figure 510 shows an easy-chair, the property of the writer, which has the earlier form of arms; the legs are cabriole, tern,:nating in grooved Dutch feet.

Although this form of aim is early, yet rarely are the legs on these pieces strengthened by stretchers.

Figure, 511 shows another easy-chair of this same type in the rough. ■ ne seat should be finished with a cushion. The legs are cabriole, terminating in bird's claw and ball feet, and the knees are plain.

Figure 512 shows an easy-chair with the early form of arms. 1 he legs are cabriole, terminating in bird's claw and ball feet, and on the knees are well-carved shells with pendent flowers. This piece is the property of Mr. John II. Buck, of Hartford.

Figure 511.

Easy-Chair, 1725-50.

Figure 5It. Easy-Chair, 1725-50.

Figure 513 shows a rather late variety of an easy-chair with the early form of arms, and 't represents the perfection of the style. A characteristic of this type is that the seat is built on a curve with a separate cushion, and the legs are set nearer together and not on the corners as in those above shown. 1 he legs are cabriole, teiminating rt bird's claw and ball feet, and on the knees are carved

Figure 513 shows a rather late variety of an easy-chair with the early form of arms, and 't represents the perfection of the style. A characteristic of this type is that the seat is built on a curve with a separate cushion, and the legs are set nearer together and not on the corners as in those above shown. 1 he legs are cabriole, teiminating rt bird's claw and ball feet, and on the knees are carved

Claw And Ball Foot

Easy-Chair, third quarter eighteenth Easy-Chyir, last quarter eighteenth century. century.

Easy-Chair, third quarter eighteenth Easy-Chyir, last quarter eighteenth century. century.

acanthus leaves and flowers extending well down the legs. 1 his chaii is the property of the writer.

Figure 514 shows an easy-chaii in Ilepplewhite style. Hie distinguishing features are the large wings, which are higher than the back, and rest on the arms which carry through to the back. The legs are straight and underbraced, after the manner of the chairs of the later period. The seat, although straight, has a cushion. This chair is the property of the writer.

In Figure 515 we tind a very unusual easy-chair in the late Empire style. he arms are scrolls and carved with rosettes and acanthus leaves, similar to the sofas of the period, and carry through to the back, while the wings rest on the outer edge. On the rail above the legs are carved rosettes, and the legs terminate in claw feet with heavy carved acanthus leaves on the knees. This is the only easy-chair of so late a period that has come under the writer's observation. It is the property of Mr. C. R. Morson, of Brooklyn.

Easy-Chair, Empire period, first quarter nineteenth century.
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