Beech banister back chair with caned back and rush seat.

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Beech banister back chair with caned back and rush seat.




Beech banister back chair, ebonised, with caned back and rush seat.

Full Description

Although this beech chair now has a rush seat, it was originally caned, as evidenced by scraps of cane visible under the rush. It has a high back formed of turned banister posts with a superimposed arched crest carved with scrolls and a lower rail with an inverted arch and scrolls to match. There are two vertical moulded bars which form the side supports for the cane, which is possibly original and is carried over part of the carved crest. The back legs are continuous with the posts and are turned, with squared blocks at the joints with the seat, stretchers and back rail. The back is sloping back and the legs are raked, with squared heels. The front legs are turned with short balusters and have squared blocks at the joints with the stretchers, and terminate in scrolled-over ‘Spanish’ feet. The front stretcher is turned with two centre balls and cones at either end. The back stretcher is a turned spindle which narrows from the centre to each end. There is an H-form turned stretcher between the front and back legs, set just above the feet, also with squared blocks at the joints. The chair is typical of those made between c.1710 and 1720.

The seat rails have been altered to enable the later rush-work to fit within squared corner blocks above the front legs. There are traces of blue paint on the seat and on other parts of the chair, and the ebonised finish appears to have been applied later.
The chair is made of beech, an inexpensive English wood, and is relatively plain in form and decoration, painted and later ebonised to make it look more special. As such, it would have been affordable to someone of moderate means, perhaps one of the new ‘middling sort’, those in a trade or profession who were increasingly significant in the development of Britain’s economy in the 18th century. Very few caned chairs were made outside London, so it is likely this was made in London to supply a demand for middle-quality furniture. It is remarkable that it has survived with few repairs or alterations.


The seat has been altered and rushed but was originally caned.
Repairs to right stretcher.
Bottom of right back leg replaced.


Rush with traces of cane underneath.

Physical Dimensions

H. 118
W. 45
D. 47

Parker Numbers



Purchased by Frederick Parker & Sons, 14th December 1927 from Ferridge, £2.0.0.


For comparable banister-back caned chairs see Adam Bowett, English Furniture, 1600-1714, From Charles II to Queen Anne, Antiques Collectors’ Club, 2002, pp. 262-7.
For more on the London cane-chairmaking industry see David Dewing, Cane Chairs, Their Manufacture and Use in London, 1670-1730, Regional Furniture, Vol XXII, 2008,
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