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What style chair is this?

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Recent activity31148 of 214796Pocket Watch  key  no. 4Nameplate from a Blackstone swath turner.
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    Posted 1 year ago

    (1 item)

    Got it at Goodwill yesterday. 25 bucks. Appears to be hand carved. Flat head screws. Can't tell what kind of wood under the poor paint job. No labels or markings of any kind. I think it's darling, but I can't find anything similar on the internet. Is it just a hand made one of? I'd love to learn more.

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    1. Gillian, 1 year ago
      Looks like the Green Man - is it a coinky-dink that the paint is green?
    2. keramikos keramikos, 1 year ago
      Gillian, You're onto something. :-)

      Using "green man chair" as search criteria yielded a lot of chairs with a Green Man motif, including this one, which isn't painted green, but seems awfully close in form. At a glance, the only difference I see besides the paint job is the slot in the center back piece:

      FYI, the underlying source is this, but I couldn't find that particular picture there:

      Judging from the wall paper in the background of the Pinterest image, that chair at one time was in the living room of the Sam Rayburn House.

      theivyjane, You might want to contact the Texas Historical Commission Main Office about your chair:
    3. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 1 year ago
      keramikos if you go back to the images you will see they are two totally different chairs. As for the one in the Texas historic site, it is in the bedroom far wall to the right in front of a window.
    4. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 1 year ago
      Stomps Burkhardt made the most popular of this design chair, called a saddle chair back in the 1800's. They made northwind chairs, gargoyle chairs and greenman chairs. Each of the faces had a slightly different face. As with anything there are lots of fakes and reproductions.
    5. keramikos keramikos, 1 year ago
      fhrjr2, I see what you mean; once I looked at them again side by side, there are more differences than just the color and the slot in the center back piece.

      Good catch in (re)finding at the chair at the Texas Historical Commission site:

      A pity that they have the chair almost hidden in a corner now.

      About these "face chairs":


      The most curious item produced in America toward the end of the 19th century was the Roman-style,or cross-frame, "face chair." In design, the chair resembled the folding 14th-century Italian Savonarola chair.

      This odd little chair became a must-have item for American parlors. A backrest onto which grotesque faces or carved fruit had been carved, stood upon simply fashioned legs, gracefully curved arms, and a curved seat. The most common face was a stylized North Wind blowing wooden tendrils of” "wind" from its mouth.

      Other faces included grinning ogres, laughing gremlins, and satyrs with wickedly out-thrust tongues. Neptune and the Green Man, or foliate head of Celtic mythology, were also popular subjects. It isn’t surprising that the stone ancestors of these faces stare down from the tops of medieval cathedrals and guildhalls across Europe.

      The origin of the faces is fairly easy to trace. Woodcarvers arriving in America from Germany in the mid-18th century found work in Midwest furniture factories. They brought their traditions and mythologies with them. In a way, their carvings were like fairy tales and folk tales fashioned in wood to delight and entertain.

      Heywood Wakefield of Wakefield, Massachusetts, and Chicago and Stomps Burkhardt of Canton, Ohio, were just two of the many furniture manufacturers to produce face chairs. Workman would roughly carve the faces using machines, then finish them off by hand. They fashioned the backrests from oak or mahogany while they used less expensive wood, stained to match the backrest, for the rest of the chair. While they lavishly carved the faces, they kept the rest of the chair’s design relatively simple. Sometimes, they carved grooves into the ends of the arms to suggest fingers, and sometimes they turned the chair’s stretcher bars.

      By the early 20th century, face chairs had all but died. As time progressed, the design pendulum swept from sumptuous Victorian ornamentation through the more restrained carving of the Eastlake period to the even cleaner lines of Mission-style and Art Deco furniture. Unfortunately, even paint couldn’t modernize these chairs, so most of them ended up in attics and basements. Many people simple destroyed them.


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