Provincial Carved Walnut Upholstered Birthing Chair With Turned Legs; French, Circa 1860.


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A Provincial carved walnut upholstered birthing chair with turned legs, French circa 1860; with incurved back rail, upholstered in black leather with nailhead trim. 1

height: 27 in. 68.5 cm., width: 18.5 in. 47 cm.,  depth: 15 in. 38 cm., seat height: 22 in. 56 cm.

Further readings and sources:

  1. Long before delivery rooms, stirrups, forceps and foetal monitors, a woman gave birth at home in a chair with the aid of her midwife and other female friends, relatives and neighbours. These women were known as the ‘gossips’, for they spread the word to all the women in the community when another went into labour. The ‘gossips’ supported the mother-to-be during this time by praying with her, preparing special foods, and helping the midwife with any other menial tasks that needed doing.

    When the time came, the pregnant woman would be propped up in the birthing chair. The midwife would sit below her, ready to catch the baby, while other women supported and comforted her from above. After the delivery, the exhausted mother would then be lead back to her bed, which remained unsullied from the birth itself.

    excerpted from Dr Lindsey Fitzharris, “Do not sit, History of the Birthing Chair.” September 19, 2013,

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