COUNTRY WINDSOR CHAIRS - 1700 to PRESENT
Made from the early-18thC onwards by wood "turners or 'bodgers' setting up temporary workshops in woodland areas. Although made in many parts of the country - hence enormous regional differences in detail - High Wycombe ill Buckinghamshire became, and has remained, the entre of the industry. Since the late-19thC, Windsor Antique Country Chairs and their variants have been
mass produced there by machine.
They have many uses - particularly in gardens"
coffee houses and sometimes in halls (18thC) and in kitchens, farmhouses and institutions in the 19th
Early 'stick-back' versions were simple, with
turned sticks (turned with tapering ends) rising from a saddle seat through a horizontal yew-wood hoop forming back and arm supports and dowelling into a shaped crest rail. The most distinctive of these have a comb shape - hence the term 'comb back'. Splayed turned legs, at first without stretchers, but, soon with either turned H or curved crinoline
(or cow's horn) stretchers.
Hooped backs (with a continuous hoop I rising from the back support to replace the I horizontal crest rail): Shaped and pierced central splats (at first sometimes set below the back support only); and cabriole legs all
appeared around 1750.
Pierced Gothic splats: Often combined with pointed arch backs and cabriole legs, were introduced about
1760. The familiar wheel-back splat and diagonal struts rising from a 'bobtail' extension of the seat - both common features on machine-made Windsors - first appeared
Plenty of variation. Good early and hoop back Windsors are expensive, few selling for less
than four figures. 19thC versions less. Harlequin sets of all ages are
common and, if matched well, no less expensive than an identical set. Few post-1900 sets fetch less than four figures.
Yew, crinoline stretcher, cabrole legs, comb back, Gothic splat and arched back all enhance the value.