Today, chairs constitute an essential part of the house décor and a lot of attention is given to the details. However, during the early years of the Jacobean era, chairs were not given so much importance. Chairs were used for sitting at the dining table. They were also used as side chairs.
What is a Jacobean chair?
Jacobean furniture refers to the furniture belonging to the period from 1603 – 1649.
During the first few years after King James I ascended the throne, the style of making the chairs or even the furniture was heavily influenced by the Elizabethan style. The chairs which resembled the Elizabethan style were known as Wainscot chairs. Oak and Pine were normally used to make furniture. Apart from these, mahogany was also used to make chairs.
Despite drawing the basic idea from the Elizabethan pattern, the Jacobean chairs were made with certain modifications distinct from the earlier centuries. For instance, in the very beginning, the Jacobean chairs had lower backs and the arms and legs of the chairs were joint.
Facts About Jacobean Chairs
This pattern made the chairs look very similar to stools. Also, the back of the chairs were carved with designs. However, less attention was given to the back and legs of chairs. Turning of legs of chairs was a common phenomenon.
How can you tell if a furniture is Jacobean?
The main Jacobean style of chairs was their noticeable perpendicularly. The seats were rectangular and the back was straight.
Jacobean prayer chair history
The term Jacobean means Jaconus in ecclesiastical terms or James in English. The prayer chairs are associated to this Ecclesiastical reference.
During the Jacobean era all furniture became rich and elaborate in colour and design. Even the most common chairs used in households had intricate designs and patterns.
Characteristics of Jacobean chairs
The early Jacobean chairs were still similar to Elizabethan style oak chairs. Later with the arrival of the Renaissance, the styles of chairs started changing and the pointed arch style was no more in fashion. The Jacobean chairs were mostly made of oak. Lime and charry woods were also heavily used.
The Jacobean chairs in the 17th century were usually massive in size and the intricate patters of designs were unique.
Jacobean side chairs increasingly became lighter for easier use. In that age, chairs were usually meant for the household masters to sit only. As a result, they were still expensively made. The Jacobean wainscot chairs were the most common and usually made of oak.
Jacobean carver chairs were mostly made of wood and differed from other kind of chairs in design. They had three verticle spindles at the back of the chair and had a wider dimension. Jacobean cane chairs and the Jacobean arm chairs were less expensive and were used by common people in offices.
However, with changing time the and needs of people, the appearance of the chairs also underwent changes. As compared to its previous look, the chairs now came to be made with long backs. Although long back provided support to a person’s back, the overall set-up of the chair was somewhat uncomfortable to sit on. The arms of the chairs were also removed.
The Jacobean leg chairs were the ones with a twisted design on the legs which were a later form of the typical Jacobean chairs. The Jacobean chair cushions were used with the arm chairs. The cushions were usually of bright colours and beautiful floral designs. Cushions were generally used by people from the aristocracy.
Jacobean kitchen chairs were cane chairs and they were also usually armless. These chairs were used by the servants and maids of the house. The Jacobean leather chairs, on the other hand, were simple in appearance but were heavily built. The seat and the back were layered with leather and provided a sophisticated look.
Jacobean Farthingale chairs were developed towards the later part of the Jacobean period. These chairs were made keeping in the mind the comfort of the women. A distinct feature of Jacobean chairs was that the seat of the chair was upholstered. This not only increased the height of the chair, but also made it extremely comfortable for a person to sit.
The seat had embroidery work to make it look appealing. The material used for making the seats was of fine quality like silk, velvet, tapestries, linen, etc. Different material was used depending upon the type of the chair.
Some other forms of chairs used in the Jacobean period were the Jacobean print chair, Jacobean stain chair, Jacobean rocking chairs etc.