Antique Wainscot or Joined Chairs - Furniture


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1550 to 1660

Before 1600 antique chairs were used only by the master and mistress of the house, everyone else sitting on stools, benches or settles. Although increasingly used by lesser mortals too during the 17thC, the presence of arms and the extent and elaboration of carving found on wainscot chairs indicate their high status. Originally they would have had a loose, upholstered seat cushion. 

Most show distinctive regional characteristics to numerous to describe. 

The Wainscot (Joined) style was flat wooden seats with molded edge projecting slightly beyond deepish, molded or carved seat rail. Turned legs at front, straight at back, joined by four straight and low stretchers. Gently scrolling arms with scrolled ends on turned supports; supports usually continuous with legs. Moderately tall paneled back with decorative carving and occasionally inlay. Uprights and rails often carved too; top rail extending beyond sides with supporting 'ears' and arched cresting. 

The most expensive (into five figures) will show all the most desirable features - a fine cresting, 'ear pieces', inlay or marquetry, good patina and plentiful and vigorous carving. 

Wainscot chairs were sometimes reproduced by the Victorians, but these lack patina, are generally too dark in color and have shallow carving, restricted in extent. If these features are not obvious, look for genuine signs of wear, particularly on the front stretcher or the under-sides of the feet; and for 'rubbed' areas on the ends of the arms. Be suspicious if all four stretchers are equally 'damaged'.








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