I love a Wing Chair…..but why?
The Wing Chair (also, Wing-back chair or Wing-back) is a definite style of armchair that many of us warm to for many reasons. I think there is a lovely sense of nostalgia about them – I remember fondly my grandparents sitting in their then antique his ‘n hers wing chairs. My grandfather’s chair was huge, in fact it seemed like a throne chair to me and my grandmothers was small and much more of a curvaceous chair. My grandfather’s was covered in an old slubby floral linen which was quite worn but my grandmother’s beautiful chair for some reason, was covered in a grim nylon loose cover. This always stood out as quite appalling to me even though I was a child and knew very little about fabrics. I just knew I didn’t like it and it didn’t seem to work with all the lovely antiques and natural materials in their home!
There are many winged armchairs available but the true comfort of a good wing chair is measured when certain things are aligned in the handcrafted making of the chair. Elements of a comfortable wing chair that I love are back support, seat cushion padding and good position of the wings to give you that total feeling of being embraced.
Handcrafted Wing Chairs are at their most comfortable when particular consideration has been given to the proper lumber support. The most comfortable Wing Chair in my mind is one that has sufficient lumber support as well as a slight rake in the back to give you a gentle lean – a great combination for creating a relaxing armchair.
The comfort we get from seat cushion fillings is different for everyone. Personally, I prefer a softer filling that I feel I sink into, again as along as that back support is there in the correct position this can be of optimum comfort. I’d recommend a feather and down or hollowfibre / feather sprinkle seat cushion for a Wing Chair seat.
Alternatively, if you like a Wing Armchair to be more upright and firm, perhaps for a library chair or reading chair then a taller back with less rake might be a better option. This type of Wing Chair then might suit a firmer seat cushion such as a foam but with a soft wrap around it. Again, a lumber support is something to be appreciated when reading or even working for a period of time. These Wing Chairs are so suited to home office rooms or reading areas within your home. Imagine the perfect quiet spot for reading – a corner in a bedroom, at a window with a beckoning view, a space away from your desk or next to the fire.
A good wing chair embodies you with it’s wonderful shape and comfort and there is always a wing chair to suit all. We have been selling them for nearly twenty years and they are a constant – a wing chair never falls in and out of fashion but the fabric or leg style you choose may be influenced by current trends to keep the wing chair updated. We offer many types of winged chairs but our number one best seller over the years has always been The Benson Wing Chair. In recent years as well as the standard size we have incorporated the ‘Tall Benson’ Wing Chair and the ‘Grande Benson’ Wing Chair. This was simply in response to his ‘n hers requests for the same chair. There are others we do of course and depending on your needs and preferences we can always help find your perfect wing chair and then customise the chair to make something very special and unique for you.
In summary I believe there’s nothing nicer than sitting in front of an open fire with your feet up on a small footstool, a good book in your hand and maybe a tasty drink at your side.
A Short History of the Wing Chair
A wing chair also sometimes called a wing-back or winged armchair is basically an easy chair or club chair with wings at the side of your head that may even stretch down to the arm rest. They were designed like this at the very earliest in the 1600s in England and at that point were not upholstered but wooden as other chairs were at that time. Upholstery wasn’t used on chairs until later. The wings were added to the standard easy chair for the purpose of keeping out drafts around your neck area when sitting in the chair. Wing chairs were the perfect fireside chair option at this time because they would trap in the warmth from the fire around your head. Gradually, padding was used more over time but started with a simple seat padding at first until the whole chair became upholstered, exposing the legs only. And that is how we think of winged armchairs today.
A Choice of Fabrics
When it comes to choosing a fabric for your next wing chair, we can help you get it just right. Things to consider might be, does it need to be a hard wearing fabric, do you want to make a statement chair or create a quirky chair, do you like one fabric or different fabrics on the front and back of the chair, are you a person that likes trims or a simple loose cover for your wing chair or perhaps you like a traditional leather wing chair? Also, consider where you’ll be placing your wing chair and the impact you want it to have, eg a pair of large wing chairs either side of a fireplace, in a grand entrance hall or lounge might suit a striking or bold pattern and a bedroom wing chair may suit a subtle floral pattern. Here are a couple of links for some further reading on fabrics within our website.
Please let us know if you’d like to receive any fabric samples.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my insight into wing chairs. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss one for your home.
Kate MacKenzie, The Original Chair Company