Inside your home, on your veranda, outside in your garden
Windsor chairs have a visual beauty like no other
Windsor chairs were originally known as stick furniture in the 1600s because of their radically different method of construction. A solid plank wooden seat, about two inches thick, is the keystone to the Windsor chair. Spindles are socketed into this seat to form the back of the chair. Similarly, to form the undercarriage of the chair, the legs are socketed into the bottom of the seat.
Unlike legs of most other forms of chair, the rear legs of Windsors are not extensions of the back posts and nor are the front legs extensions of the arm supports of continuous arm, double bow-back or sack back chairs.
By the early 1700s, Windsor chairs were extremely fashionable both indoors and out as a result perhaps of King George I. The story goes that while out on a fox hunt it became chilly and started to rain and the monarch sought shelter in the simple home of one of his subjects, where, near the blazing hearth, he came upon a simple chair. On his return to Windsor Castle, the King ordered several of these chairs be made after the same pattern; hence, of course, the legendary derivation of both the chair and the name of the chair.
However, in England it is quite common for the regional names of shires or towns be used to describe the objects produced there; Yorkshire chairs, High Wycombe chairs, Cotswold chairs are but a few of the names given to Windsor chairs. They were mostly produced in the southern counties of England more so than the North. As the appearance of the stick chairs in London increased, they simply became known as the chairs one could buy at Windsor.
With the colonisation of America, those with the financial means imported the Windsor chair more as a statement of fashion at the time; however, the Americans have gone on to evolve the English Windsor chair. A new design was created in New York in the mid 1780s; the Continuous Arm, which is a light, graceful chair and very pleasing to the eye.
There are so many variations and forms of what we know to be the Windsor Chair, antiques today, and they surely have proved their worth through the tests of time with the significant duress chairs are subjected to in their daily use.
Windsor chairs appear timeless and are just as at home in a modern architecturally designed home as they are in a bungalow, cottage or heritage home.