Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary .......... Illustrated Architecture Dictionary

Chairs - CONSTRUCTION

Chairs - STYLES

Table of Contents:

Tops

 

All links are to Buffalo, NY, pages unless otherwise indicated.

Tops

Bolster-top

Tops

Cresting

The carved decoration on the top rail of a chair, sofa, or daybed

Tops

Cupid's bow

A Chippendale style top rail of a chair back shaped like a bow, with compound curves, and often with spiral volutes on the ends.

The cupid's bow with arrows also appeared as a decorative motif in the Louis XV and Louis XVI periods.

Tops

Ears

Up-curved ends of top rail

Usually on Chippendale chairs

  Top Rail

See Rails below

Backs

 

All links are to Buffalo, NY, pages unless otherwise indicated.

Backs

Balloon-Back
Form of chair back shaped like a hot-air balloon, rounded at the top, tapering toward seat.

Sometimes referred to a "peanut-shaped"

Backs

Bannister-back chair

Backs

Cane

  Fiddle-shaped splat

Backs

Peanut-shape upholstered

Backs

Prince of Wales feathers

A chair-back ornament of the Hepplewhite period. It was a carved representation of the three ostrich plumes which were the badge of the Prince of Wales.

Backs

Rail

The horizontal strip of a frame or a panel. The horizontal tie bar in the framing of a piece of furniture, such as the top of a chair back, or a stretcher rail

In the 16th and 17th centuries , this element was usually elaborately shaped and carved.

See also: cresting

Yoke back: A crossbar with two S-shaped curves used as the top rail of chair backs in the Georgian period. The silhouette is that of an ox-yoke.

Backs

Ribbon-back chair

Four pierced ribbon rails

Chippendale style; mahogany

Backs

Shield back

Resembles a shield-shaped frame with a tapered point at the center bottom.

The shape of a chair back popularized by Hepplewhite in the mid-18th century in England.

The frame would sometimes have a carved splat representing the feathers of the Prince of Wales , or a sheaf of wheat.

Backs

Shoe / Shoe piece

The part of the back seat rail of a chair that projects out to support the bottom of the splat

Backs

Slat

Flat narrow band of wood, often set in a horizontal series across the back of 17th-century chairs and later country versions.

Sometimes used to support seat cushions or mattresses in other styles

Backs

Splat

The central. upright wood panel of a chair back, serving as a back rest.

May be carved, vase- or fiddle-shaped, embellished with carving and marquetry (inlays in veneer) , or decorated with fretwork, pierced designs, or tracery.

Usually vase-shaped on in Queen Anne and Chippendale chairs; also pierced on the latter.

See Vase-shaped splat below

Backs

Stile
The outer uprights of of some panelback chairs

Also, the vertical strips of the frame of a panel of case piece of furniture.

Often called a post if turned

Backs

Vase-shaped splat

An urn-shaped splat which appears in the center of a chair back, under the top rail and between the uprights.

Also called vasiform (pronounced VAY zi form; VAS if form)

Similr to the fiddleback

Arms / Seats

Historical note: "[ In Egypt] Seats were made out of either rush or wood. Wooden seats were ergonomically shaped to follow the contour of the body. creating a double cove. Since upholstered furniture was not in use at this time, a loose cushion was placed on top of these dipped seats for greater comfort." - Treena Crochet, Designer's Guide to Furniture Styles," pub. 2204, p.12


Apron / Skirt

Arms / Seats

Cane

  Drop

Wooden decorative element , often urn- or bell-shaped , hanging from the skirt of a table or seat rail of a chair

Arms / Seats

Gooseneck arm support

Arms / Seats

Handholds

Arms / Seats

Horseshoe-shaped seat

c Knuckle handholds

Arms / Seats

Rail

The horizontal strip of a frame or a panel. The horizontal tie bar in the framing of a piece of furniture, such as the top of a chair back, or a stretcher rail

In the 16th and 17th centuries , this element was usually elaborately shaped and carved.

Yoke back: A crossbar with two S-shaped curves used as the top rail of chair backs in the Georgian period. The silhouette is that of an ox-yoke.


Arms / Seats

Rush seat

Arms / Seats

Saddle seat

A scooped-out seat which resembles the contour of a saddle.

The seat is convex from the sides and back to a raised central ridge.

Often found in Windsor chairs with thick pine seats.

Arms / Seats

Shield-shaped seat with peaked front

Arms / Seats

Slip seat

Removable upholstered seat, slipped or inserted into an open chair frame

Found on Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Colonial Revival examples

Legs
See also: Furniture - Legs

Legs

Animal legs
  Bandy-legged

A Colonial American term for bowlegged or cabriole-legged furniture of the England and America in the early 18th century.

Legs

Cabriole (KAB ree ole) leg

Illustration: Fairmount Park Woodford House, Philadelphia

Legs

Flemish "S' scroll leg

Illustration: William and Mary caned-back chair - George Wythe House, Williamsburg, Va.

Legs

Knee

Illustration: Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum

Legs

Marlborough leg

A straight, sometimes fluted leg with a block as a foot that was used in the mid-18th-century English and American furniture.

Legs

Saber legs

Chair legs tapered to resemble a cavalry saber.

Legs

Turned legs

Illustration: Fairmount Park Woodford House, Philadelphia

Stretchers

Stretchers

Stretcher

Stretchers

Box stretcher

 

Cross stretcher

Stretchers

H stretcher
  X stretcher

Feet

 

Arrow foot

Feet

Ball foot

Feet

Block foot

Feet

Bun foot

Feet

Claw-and-ball foot

Feet

Club foot
  Drake foot

See Trifid below

Feet

Lion's paw foot

Feet

Marlborough foot

Illustration: Reproduction Chippendale English tea table - Kittinger Furniture Company

Feet

Pad foot

Feet

Paw foot

Feet

Spade foot

Feet

Spanish foot

Feet

Trifid (TRY fid) foot
Alternative name: drake foot

Feet

Whorl foot


Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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