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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Love Affair with Wingback Chairs!

Classic  Wingback Chairs in Black and White Patterned Fabric and Painted Black Legs (source Pinterest)

I have had a love affair with wingback style chairs as long as I remember.   I remember seeing them in old (and newer) movie sets and have often been as mesmerized by the furniture in the background as I have by the action and dialogue.   What I really like about wingback chairs is their structure and shape.  They are truly classic and look good in just about any fabric.  They can also be very contemporary.  I have been refurbishing upholstered furniture for almost eight years (excluding for personal use) and have sought the wingback style chair more than any other style.  It is just hard to go wrong with a wingback.  More recently, I have been "modernizing" the look not just with fabrics but also painting/refinishing the legs - some of the results have been amazing!

Classic Wingback Chair - Clean Lines and Queen Anne Legs (source Pinterest)
In addition to showing (and showing off) some great wingbacks in this blog, I wanted to review the history and "pedigree" of this great style.  From my research it appears that the wingback was first used in the 1700's and became widely used in the 1800's - many of today's styles are very similar to the looks of these early chairs.

Modernized Wingback Chairs (source Pinterest)

Wingback Chairs used as Dining Chairs (source Pinterest)
I found the best information on this site link to eHome News and will summarize some key issues here.
High-backed upholstered armchairs that we now call wingbacks first appeared in the late 17th century. Their most striking feature was side pieces that projected forward from the back at a 90-degree or wider angle. These projections functioned to protect the user from cold drafts and to shield the face from intense heat when seated next to a fireplace.
The tradional wingback chairs of the 18th and 19th centuries were fully upholstered. English wingbacks had more curves to the arms, and wings and were often upholstered in leather with brass nailheads. French styles exhibited more angles on the wings, with exposed wood trim on arms and back and luxurious fabrics as covers. 
Traditional wingbacks were not skirted. Legs were straight or cabriole, depending on the period and country of origin. Classic hardwoods like cherry and mahogany were most often used.




  
Modernized WIngback Chairs - Modified  Wings and Straight Legs (source Pinterest)
Like the earliest versions, the wingback chair is still often used in front of the fireplace in a living room or den. Sometimes a pair of chairs creates a cozy seating area with a small table between them. One or two wingbacks can be found in many master bedrooms and sometimes large guest rooms. One of the modern versions of this chair makes an ideal piece for a young person's bedroom.
Some of my favorite Refurbished Wingback Chairs (source link to website
Queen Anne style furniture emerged in the 18th century as a reaction to the more elaborate French designs of previous centuries. The Queen Anne wingback chair features a horseshoe-shaped cushion for the seating area of the chair. The back of the chair features fluted upholstered wings that encase the shoulders and head of the seated person. One of the most distinct features of the Queen Anne style of wingback chairs is the elegant cabriole legs. 
Classic Wingback with Deep Wings and Cabriole Legs (from Wydeven Designs Archives)
Classic American Style Wingbacks with Straight Legs (from Wydeven Designs Archives)
An American style of wingback chairs emerged at the end of the 18th century. American wingback chairs were inspired by Queen Anne style wingbacks with a few notable distinctions. Rather than the curved cushion, American wingbacks featured a more subdued flat cushion. The decorative cabriole legs were swapped out for simple straight legs. 
Modernized Wingback Chair - Love this Fabric (from Pinterest)
Contemporary wingback chairs draw inspiration from the dramatic wings of the chair but add a modern element through fabric, color or shape. A majority of contemporary designs forgo the elaborate legs and details of the traditional wingback chair; instead newer designs feature simple lines, straight legs and subtle stitching. Some modern designs introduce a dramatically arched back in addition to side wings; other chairs add a pop of color with unexpected prints like orange white damask or black and white toile.
Modernized Wingback Chair - Modified Wing and Painted Queen Anne Legs (source Pinterest)
 
 

 

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