Suffolk country chair
Suffolk Country Chair
This Suffolk country chair bears a lot of the characteristics of East Anglian chairs. But I strongly suspect that it was made in the High Wycombe area of Buckinghamshire, specifically for the East Anglia market. The railways made transporting chairs relatively easy,
The Hepplewhite square back often with swept or French arms can be seen in all sorts of verifiably Suffolk made chairs. As also the characteristic four turned spindles in the back. Indeed chairs of this type are well documented in Bernard Cotton’s “The English Regional Chair”.
So what evidence is there that it is from High Wycombe? The use of beech rather than elm which was either preferred or just more readily available in East Anglia.
The lack of elm both as seat board and as framing. Straw and rush seats are not uncommon in East Anglia chairs but using rush means making the seat flat and East Anglia chairs with board seats often have a “sag” seat, with a curve in the front and back seat rails forming a curved seat surface with sections of board arranged front to back.
The self similarity of the turned parts suggests a well established workshop. But because the turning is not identical, it is likely that the parts were made up in one of. the smaller chair-making workshops in the Wycombe or Thames valley area.
The rush seat has been re-woven using genuine rush supplied by Westcountry Willow Crafts. You can tell genuine rush from continuous twisted rush that has the confusing name of Reel Rush by looking at the underside of the woven seat. Genuine rush is knotted together underneath anbd the underside strands are left straight. Only the strands on the top of the seat a.re twisted