A classic wingback chair recliner fills the entire body with curved front legs. Earthen armchairs originated in the 1600s as a thermal design meant to trap the heat of a campfire around the babysitter, while blocking cold drafts from other parts of the room. This practical application became an upholstered and then comfortably padded version that over time sported elegant cabriolet legs that complements the signature wings. If you are the owner or want a wing chair, you can find out what your design was coming from, whether antique, vintage or modern. An antique, confirmed or suspicious must be evaluated by an expert to determine its value.
Let yourself be guided by that knowledge in any restoration you make to the chair. The original materials and an old patina might be too important to update, even if this means treating the chair as a museum piece and not a useful addition to the room. Clear provenance establishes good faith of age and a real antiquity, – when you have been in your family for generations, you may be able to document the life and time of the chair. The clues that can confirm the history of your chair include the type of work cabinets – chair joinery. For example, the peculiarities of style such as the width of the wings or closed panels on the arms.
The finish – remains of gilding, stuffed horsehair, fragments of the original silk upholstery under the “new” vintage velvet. Or, happily, your research can show that the chair is not the quality of the museum and that they are free to upholster on a zebra striped sheet without remorse. European designed wing chairs range from the first austere models all made of wood and furniture to more elaborate cutting with gilded wood, cariole legs, carved front and ornate panels, embroidered brocade or velvet upholstery. Queen Anne’s style is rounded and feminine, with wood, but displaced simple lines.
The chairs inspired the classic look of lateral defense that survived a trip across the Atlantic to the colonies and still influences the traditional wing chair design today. Try something different in your dining room – four Queen Anne armchairs gathered around a wooden pedestal table under a hanging or contemporary chandelier. Match the wood of the table to the chair frames – cherry or maple – and choose a modern cloth patterned clothes, save a second-hand wing chair for the bedroom with the rose, green and white cretonne upholstery and pale green or bright pink enameled legs.