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Antique

Child's Orkney Chairs

Child's Orkney Chairs

Regular price £2,450.00 GBP
Regular price Sale price £2,450.00 GBP
Sale Sold out
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Chair

The Orkney chair is perhaps Scotland’s most celebrated example of vernacular furniture. The characteristic high back and low seat were designed to keep the drafts away and the inhabitant as close to the warmth of the fire as possible; a room within a room of sorts. For centuries, these chairs were made on Orkney by and for Orcadians. In the absence of a great number of trees, they were made from a small amount of driftwood and large quantities of the straw, a by-product of the abundant oat crops.

In the late C19th, local carpenter David Munro Kirkness standardised the many idiosyncratic local examples into the recognisable vernacular chair we know today.  A keen businessman, he shipped examples of his chair to the port of Leith, where they were seen by buyers from Liberty of London, which led to a lucrative deal to distribute them world-wide.  After the death of Kirkness in 1936, the chair making was taken over by fellow Orkney resident, Reynold Eunson in 1956, who continued the tradition until 1978. We have a near perfect pair of child’s Orkney chairs currently, which we believe to be from the late C19th or early C20th, with traditional oak-framed construction, a woven straw back and a drop-in rush seat. They are known as Child’s chairs but they make wonderfully comfortable fireside companions for adult bodies too. There is a nice give in the woven straw back that hugs the torso comfortably. 

Height 86cm, depth 50cm, 37cm seat height.

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