Suffolk Mahogany Chair
Our Suffolk mahogany chair bears similarities to East Anglia country chairs. To call the style Hepplewhite is a little inaccurate and mid to late Georgian might be more correct. There is a long tradition of country chairs mimicking the styles of higher status equivalents.
Actually the name, Hepplewhite is often associated with chairs that have no stretchers between the legs. The front cross-wise stretcher is set back from the front legs in the classic style. In country chairs that stretcher is often fixed to the front legs. (Much easier for the less skills chair maker)
So it seems that good quality Georgian chairs were copied by country carpenters and chair-makers and in East Anglia, the square back was popular. Subsequently in a reverse process, the country chair became the design influence for more formal chairs. They were produced by provincial makers to supply the rapidly expanding “New Money” market of the post Napoleonic war period.
Information about East Anglian chairs is widely available. Try the Regional Furniture Society.
Back to our chair:
The height is 87 cms: Width across the front of the seat frame is 49 cms: Seat height is 46 cms and the depth of the seat frame (front to back) is 42 cms. So a somewhat smaller than the grand classical chairs by top designers and makers in the late eighteenth century.
The frame is Honduras mahogany with an inlay of (probably) sycamore in the crown rail. The arms are curved in a classic late eighteenth century shape, although they lack the generous sweep of the better quality versions.
The drop-in seat, which we think is the original frame, has been upholstered using traditional materials. It is one of the few chairs that we ever covered with a vinyl, leather substitute. It just happened that a trainee put the vinyl on it and we never got around to replacing it with real leather.