“The English wing chair, in which we sit protected and alone and enclosed, facing the warmth of the fire, embraced by wings as if those of a soft sheltering angel. The wing chair’s heaviness and solidity stipulate a different form of life, one of security, of solidity, of immobility, of peace. The wing chair goes with the bourgeois interior, the hearth, with an Englishman’s home being his castle. One is padded, buffered, cosseted, soothed. One’s chair is one’s signature.” 1
The wing chair is a high backed, upholstered easy chair with side wings, or ear pieces, on either side of the chair back. It was originally a mid 17th century design. Sometimes referred to as a library chair, grandfather chair, forty-winks chair, or saddle-back chair— the wing chair would often be situated alongside or in front of the hearth. The “wings” would shield it’s occupant from drafts, muffle unnecessary sounds and distractions, and perhaps best of all, trap the warmth from a fireplace into the area where you’d be sitting. 2
Here: A handsome mahogany frame upholstered wing chair with rams head carved legs, English, circa 1880. on Queen Anne legs and pad feet, a distinctive split double-scroll ram’s head motif on the two front legs.
height: 43 in. 109 cm., width: 34 in. 86 cm., depth: 32 in. 81 cm.
seat height: 18 in. 46 cm., arm height: 26 in. 66 cm.
Further readings and sources:
- Danto, Arthur C. “The Seat of the Soul: Three Chairs.” Grand Street 6, no. 4 (1987): 162–63. https://doi.org/10.2307/25007019. ↩
- see The Fairchild Books Dictionary Of Interior Design, 4th Edition by Mark Hinchman https://www.fairchildbooks.com/shop/the-fairchild-books-dictionary-of-interior-design-1 ↩