The Windsor chair earned its appellation from Windsor, England. By the mid-18th century it was the most popular chair in America. It was present when the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia for the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
DESIGNER | American, 18th century
The Windsor chair earned its appellation from Windsor, England. By the mid-18th century it was the most popular chair in America. It was present when the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia for the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The original versions arrived with colonists as early as 1726 and its iconic status was cemented by its presence among the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all owned them. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in a high-back swivel Windsor with a writing arm, which he probably designed himself since revolving Windsor chairs were not common until the 1840s.
Simple, so-called “stick chairs,” were developed around 1710 in England. No one really knows who was the original designer. These chairs were and still are admired for their lightness, strength and comfort. Typical features included a solid seat carved into which back spindles and turned legs were doweled. The legs splay outward and the back reclines slightly.
American craftsmen, especially around Philadelphia, perfected the design by removing the chair’s central back splat and developing other refinements. Among the best known were Philadelphia cabinetmakers Francis Trumble, Joseph Henzey and Thomas Gilpin.
Windsor chairs, frequently called Philadelphia chairs” were soon being manufactured throughout New England and New York and in various styles – high-back, low-back, fan-back, bow-back, hoop-back or sack-back and brace-back armchairs, side chairs and rockers. American makers typically used pine or poplar for the seats and maple for the spindles. The chairs were stained or painted. Popular colors included black, green and red–which helped to disguise the mix of woods.
Windsor Chair | 18th century
Original: American | USA
Reproduction Windsor Made by Curtis Buchanan, Chairmaker
Dimensions: 26″W x 23″D x 38.5″H