Easy & Lounge Chairs, Bergere Chairs
Ideas for furnishing with lounge chairs, easy, bergere, and cane chairs.
Now a modern lounge chair, deeply-sprung, down-stuffed, and with a clown pillow, loose in the seat, offers the restfulness demanded by the all-round strenuousness of twentieth century existence.
The lounge chair is a modern triumph, and modern upholstery can convert old chairs into very comfortable ones. A good plan is to buy an old lug chair frame, quite an inexpensive proceeding incidentally, and get it upholstered in some antique material, and if you have any pieces of old needlework or tapestry that can be made up for covering purposes, you possess all the necessary materials for making an attractive and comfortable chair. If there is not sufficient needlework to cover the chair entirely, the back and the outside of the arms can be covered in tapestry cloth, a plain material that will be in keeping with the needlework that covers the seat, back, front and inside of the arms. For hard wear a well-stuffed hair chair is by far the best.
New Upholstery on an Old Frame.
There are many easy chairs with mahogany legs, carved and with claw and ball feet; there are also a large number of wing chairs with carved under framing in walnut, and it is possible sometimes to pick up a pair of carved front legs from such chairs, or odd bits of old under-framing, and to have them made up, at no great cost, with new wood. Dealers would describe, with a certain percentage of truth, such made up chairs as "Restored" A very valuable word in the peculiar argot of the antique furniture trade, for it may be applied to an entirely modern piece of furniture, an exact reproduction of some old chest or cabinet, that has been built round a genuine old hinge or lock. The art of restoration is practised extensively, but it requires skill and a thorough working knowledge of antique designs.
Although the modern easy chair is given over to comfort it does not lack design, and its covering may be a definite part of the colour scheme of a room. A loose cover is an excellent thing for any type of easy chair, especially for one that is in daily use, and there are many attractive fabrics, linens, cretonnes, chintzes innumerable, from which to select. The original idea of having loose covers on chairs may have been to hide ugly legs of clumsy design, and even some Victorian chairs can be improved in this manner.
For a library or a smoking-room an easy chair upholstered in leather has its advantages, although it suggests the club convention. Modern leather-covered chairs cannot compare in appearance with the old models. Cromwellian grandfather chairs in dark leather can be copied, or old frames re-upholstered, and leather can sometimes be toned to the old, rich hue that time attains; but most modern coloured leather chairs have nothing except comfort to recommend them, for they have not yet shaken off the Victorian ideal of railway-carriage upholstery, and until something much better is designed, or an extensive return is made to seventeenth century models, they will continue to suggest hotel lounges and board rooms, and other places specialising in furniture that guarantees comfort but scorns design.
A really excellent chair is the Bergere chair, which is comfortable, useful, charming in a bedroom or a sitting-room, and may be used with any sort of walnut or mahogany furniture. Its gracefulness can bring added character to arrangement wherever it is placed, and its caned seat and sides and back, and light wooden frame are all advantages that recommend it.
Antique Bergere Chair, 1772.
Modern cane chairs are not always happy in their design, but no one can decry the comfort of the lounge chairs that invalids have blessed with their gratitude for many years. Cane chairs are in their right place on verandahs, in English garden rooms and summer houses, and on shaded lawns, but there is no real place for such furniture in sitting rooms.
Next: Oak Settles & Settle Benches.