The evolution of the wing chair

Evolution of arm chairs

The earliest wing chairs: the Ham House sleeping chair (1670); an English baroque wingchair (1680)*; and an American Queen Anne chair (1730).

Good thing for those drafty English castles, otherwise someone might never have thought of attaching upholstered boards to the side of a chair, the earliest example of which some historians think might be the Ham House chair pictured left.  The trend caught on, and 10 years later we had the wings integrated as part of the construction; 50 years later and the wing chair became one of the most common furniture designs in the Queen Anne period, and still persists in pretty much the same format today, drafts or no drafts.

Regardless of the functional usefulness (and/or uselessness) of the wings, reinterpreting them allows for lots of creativity on the part of modern day designers.  Here’s a few of my favorites:

LYX wing chairThe LYX wingchair combines Eames-esque plywood backing with memory foam.

global views iron and leather wing chairOn the Global Views wing chair, graceful iron wings are juxtaposed with the straight angles of the arms.  From Designer Insider.

Bensen Park Lounge ChairAn angular back and legs make for interesting negative space around the Bensen Park Lounge Chair.  From Unica Home.

The wing detail makes the modern and chic Boulevard Chair from Lilly Pulitzer Home.

West Elm Ellery ChairThe unusual slope of the arms and the mid-century legs make the Ellery Wing Chair from West Elm modern (and at $499, affordable) style.

*Image courtesy of the Frederick Parker Collection at the London Metropolitan University.

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One response to “The evolution of the wing chair

  1. I loved learning the history of the wing chair and seeing the modern adaptations.

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