Xanthippos, Athens, circa 430-420 B.C.
Helena Modjeska (1840-1909)
Polish-American actress, as Laodamia on a Klismos chair
carved seats in the Dionysus Theater in Athens
Derived from the Greek word klino (a cause to lean), they say that the Klismos chair was mostly used by women. This elegant chair features graceful legs that sweep out from the seat, and a curved back that cradles the sitter. Depicted in ancient art, as a light weight chair (in some scenes, it is carried overhead) the Klismos chair is generally made of wood.
There are no known original Klismos chairs in existence, but the ancient chair design was ressurected in the 1700s by the French, during the Neoclassical period. It endured through the 1800s, became a popular chair in England, and then traveled to America by way of the famous furniture maker, Duncan Phyfe. Some Klismos chairs are painted, laquered, or golf leafed... others have woven seats, or decorative upholstery. Today, there seems to be a Klismos chair for everyone.
And, these are my Klismos dining chairs... They are from the 1950s. We reupholstered them (in Celerie Kemble's "betwixt") and gave them a coat of paint.
Although there are many varieties of the Klismos chair, it always displays two key elements: the striking profile and light weight design. To me it seems like a chair to respect. After all, the design has been admired by humanity for 2,500 years.
For more on the Greek History of the Klismos Chair, click HERE or HERE, or HERE.