Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Lesson On Klismos Chairs


I once wrote about Windsor Chairs, and today I thought I would talk about one of my other favorite chairs: the Klismos Chair.  I am a bit baised here since I have 6 Klismos chairs around my dining table...  But, like the Windsor chair, the Klismos design has lasting power.  After all, it's origins date to 400 B.C.


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

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No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Danielle said...

Your chairs are my favorite! Love the paint and fabric combo.

A Country Farmhouse said...

Your chairs are beautiful! And thanks for the history, I hadn't really known much about Klismos chairs. xoTrina

sara said...

Nice Blog!! We have a wide range of Cheap Dining Furniture which helps you to reset your dining room.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! What color is that fabric? Grass, or biscuit? I love the pairing with the black paint.

Kelly Galvin Robson said...

Hi Anonymous! The colorway is "water/ivory"... like an aqua blue.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

Kelly

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelly,

Water/Ivory, huh? If you have about a yard or so extra, I would consider purchasing it... I have a similar black chair that I'm hoping to reupholster.

James said...

Excellent post! I've seen Klismos chairs in so many incarnations and never knew what they were (or realized until now that the various chairs were related). Just came across your blog and already enjoying it.

Kelly Galvin Robson said...

Hi Anonymous!

Email me! I have some fabric left over that you might want!

highstreetmarket@gmail.com

xx
Kelly

Alex said...

Wow, I just picked up a couple and was reading the history of them about a week ago. Nicely timed post! Love all the selections.

maison21 said...

i LOVE the donghia modern take on the klismos, and would give my left kidney for a set of t.h. robsjohn-gibbings vintage versions.

ps- saw you on betsy's FB page, so added you to my blog roll...

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