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Antique Baroque English Chairs - Carolean Era

Early Carolean Era

Antique chairs of the carolean or restoration period were, in the early part of Charles II's reign, of baroque style, carved, and often made of walnut.


Walnut is a wood ideally suited to carving and is also light. Beech was also sometimes used for antique English chairs of the Carolean era, often for plainer models, and many antiques of these survive today.

Antique Carolean Chair
Antique Carolean Chair


Carolean chairs had light frames, tall raked backs, and were "turned all over" with knob, twist, or bobbin turning. Backs and seats of the chairs often had caning although at first this consisted of simply a coarse mesh. A few examples had their front legs rising above the seat forming a space to place a cushion.


Arms and legs of antique englsih chairs of this period ended in a scrolling, graceful sweep. Carving decoration was elaborate, employing carving of oak leaves, eagles' heads, flowers, husks, and rosettes. A notable decorative motif was cherubs holding a crown between them, perhaps a celebration of the restoration of the monarchy.

There was an order to the carving work with the wide stretchers at the front mirroring the decoration of the chair's top rail. The master carver of this period was Grinling Gibbons.

Later Carolean Antique Chairs

Decoration became even more elegant with the use of pierced work carving, rather than just surface work, and baluster turning. The whole of the front legs, rather than just the ends, were scrolled in a S shape and by around 1685 the arched crest at the top rail was supported on its uprights rather than between them. Backs became narrower and taller and seats were more often upholstered.

English Baroque Antique Chair
English Baroque Antique Chair

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