Published at Friday, March 30th, 2018 - 19:47:21 PM. Balloon Chair. By Gilberte Fournier.
This is article traces the history of commonly found Antique Australian chairs up until the end of the 19th Century. It discusses English design influences, chairmaker techniques, and the various styles including balloon-back, ladder-back, and rail-back styles. Chairs seem to be one of the least likely types of furniture to survive and become antiques and there are some important considerations to make when restoring antique chairs.
Australian chairs followed the designs of their European counterparts very closely, the major distinguishing factor being that our local cedar timber was not as hard or as tight grained as the mahogany used in England, and was prone to breaking through the short grain of the back legs or in the shallow turnings and tenons. Bearing these problems in mind, cedar chairs will often have larger proportions to allow for the lesser structural properties, and most examples show considerable wear to the legs, especially the front pair. Fine quality examples of Australian cedar chairs are made of select cuts of cedar utilising the closest and straightest grained timbers for strength and also for their similarity to mahogany. There was quite a prestige associated with being able to afford goods from abroad, primarily England.
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