1650 - 1750
885 x 590 x 560 mmOrder this image
Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire (Accredited Museum)
On show at
Smoking chair, heavy oak, triangular seat.
Three-legged gentleman's smoking or drinking chairs have a history dating back many centuries. Such a style of chair is believed to have originated in the Byzantine Empire and then spread westwards into Scandinavia, brought there by members of the Varangian Guard, Scandinavian mercenaries who became personal bodyguards to the Emperor. It was then brought into England by the Norman conquest and then made locally for centuries thereafter. The chair is believed to have been sat in 'backwards', with the sitter's chest against the back bar and the legs through the gaps behind the arm rails. It is possible that they were designed with three legs to make them more stable on rough flagstone or earth floors. Some chairs constructed in this style were also heavily turned and decorated with delicate spindles, but this example is of a much plainer design. There are some abrasion marks at the front of the seat which are believed to have been caused by a sitter wearing a sword whilst using the chair.
Given by Lord Derby.