A Double Bow Windsor Chair – Part Eight

Fig. 1. The colour of envy.

A great number of eighteenth-century Windsor chairs were painted green; known as ‘forest’ chairs. The hues of green these chairs were painted varied from marine grey-greens through leafy yellow-greens to bottle greens though due to the composition of the paints, many chairs would now be unrecognisable to their makers, having darkened considerably; or indeed, been subsequently darkly varnished.

Many people would be unaware their Windsors were ever painted at all as some paints – light on binders – tended to be somewhat fugitive. Other chairs may have latterly succumbed to chemical or mechanical stripping at the hands of misguided restorers or during the stripped-pine years of the sixties and seventies.

Like discovering fragments of centuries-old paint behind layers of wallpaper during a house renovation, espying a hint of green paint masked by layers of varnish and wax on an eighteenth-century Windsor chair is testament to its age and offers a glimpse of its earlier existence.

The fugacious green paint in figure 1 was intended both to confront and to demonstrate how some early forest chairs might have appeared when newly painted. Paint remnants like those in figures 2 and 3 are often the only visible indication that a chair was ever painted.

Fig. 2. Residual paint on front of saddle.

Fig. 3. Paint trapped in timber’s figure.

Fig. 4. Wellard displaying his usual disdain for my efforts.

Jack Plane

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About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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18 Responses to A Double Bow Windsor Chair – Part Eight

  1. Sean says:

    Absolutely outstanding Jack!

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  2. Freddy Roman says:

    Beautiful Job. This is probably one of my favorite Windsor I have ever seen. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Joe M. says:

    It is funny how we expect windor chairs to look today, although knowing that they were painted and mostly for outdoor furniture, when I saw the first photo…….I was ready to rip the computer off the desk!!. How our tastes have changed over time!! …. The resulting finishing produced a beautiful chair.
    Don’t take it to heart about Wellard’s disapproval, as long as he keeps all four legs on the ground.
    Again.. well done Jack!
    Can’t wait to see what’s next.
    Joe

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  4. Tico Vogt says:

    Another work of art!

    Like

  5. Freddy Roman says:

    Jack!

    I just found this blog and I must say the blog is one of the best out there in the world. There is a ton of great information here, and I am just so excited. Finally someone else who loves old furniture.

    Cheers,
    Freddy Roman
    Maker & Restorer

    Like

  6. Marilyn says:

    OK, when I opened this post and saw green paint on your beautiful chair .. I thought uh oh! The residual effect is really nice. And what a beautiful finish! I’m assuming that the finished project met with the expectations of the customer and the number of circles around the picture that launched the project.

    I’m also wondering if the forest chairs were a fad or something else.

    And I couldn’t help noting as I read your post that the word “binder” over here has, at least for the moment, taken a whole new level of meaning. sigh.

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    • Jack Plane says:

      Marilyn, The customer is yours truly! All the furniture I make is for myself (although I might be persuaded to make for others as long as I’m infatuated with the intended piece).

      I don’t know whether I’d call forest chairs a “fad”. They were popular for at least half a century.

      If I’ve caught your drift correctly, I think I could do with a binder to keep everything in place!

      JP

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  7. Robert says:

    I have a Windsor chair almost exactly like the one you show in fig. 4. I restored one that was missing all the stretchers and very loose. I liked it so much, I copied it. One for myself and one for my sister and two more. Sometime later I saw a pic (fig. 314) in The Encyclopedia of Furniture by Joseph Aronson. In the Victor and Albert Museum. The Back Splat is identical to mine. I love this chair. It has been used every day since I made it, early seventies I think.

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  8. Jim Pallas says:

    At first look the green was a bit shocking it put you right back in a garden of the era. Your mastery of reproduction finishes is amazing. I am sure that pictures can not possibly show the details. Very well done. Thank you for sharing.
    Jim

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  9. Pingback: A New Throne – Part One | Pegs and 'Tails

  10. Pingback: A New Throne – Part Three | Pegs and 'Tails

  11. This is one of the Most amazing details of Windsor Chair Making I have found on the Computer,and it Pays Tribute to such a Self Made Man Like “Jack Pane ”
    Seek & Ye Shall Find!!! And you will find it!! here.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Picture This XXXVIII | Pegs and 'Tails

  13. ged gardiner says:

    I have just bought a wheel back Windsor with at least seven coats of paint, red, red, black, blue, white, green, red. I have just been introduced to this site and love it BTW.

    Like

  14. Alicia T says:

    Fabulous blog! Thank you!

    Like

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