|The inspiration for our work is drawn from the rich heritage of American Windsor chair making in the 18th and early 19th centuries.Wonderfully varied in their stylistic and regional forms, these chairs remain lively, expressive and elegant without gaudiness or pretension. And yet they were chairs foreveryday use, answering the challenge of functional chair design very well: They were comfortable, strong and lightweight.|
|In our shop we recreate Windsors from this period. Our chairs are constructed in the old manner, employing the woods and many of the tools common to the 18th century chairmaker. Some of our chairs are exacting replicas of extant pieces in public and private collections. Some are at least partially interpretive, reflecting some of our own preferences as to proportion and execution. Many have been subtly altered from the originals in order to increase their level of comfort. Our goal is to produce work of the highest quality which we believe will meet the requirements of the discriminating individual.|
|Our work is not limited to the items shown in the catalog. Variations of these forms, useful adaptations and exacting reporcutions can be ordered by special request. Normally a photograph from a book or magazine is enough for me to quote a price.|
|Evans, Nancy Goyne, American Windsor Chairs.|
New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1996.
|Evans, Nancy Goyne, American Windsor Furniture: Specialized Forms.|
New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1997.
|Nutting, Wallace, A Windsor Handbook.|
Rutland, VT: Chs. E. Tuttle Co., 1973.
|Ormsbec, Thomas, The Windsor Chair.|
New York: Hearthside Press, 1962.
|Santore, Charles, The Windsor Style in America.|
2 Vols. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1981.
|There is an old saying that when you throw mud at others you're going to get your hands dirty and lose a lot of ground in the process. I would like to avoid doing this (and it's consequences) yet I do think that a few words of caution are in order for those who are looking to acquire reproductions of 18th century furniture, perhaps especially Windsor chairs.|
|First, there are individuals and small firms that are doing very high quality work that is honestly represented. Such craftsmen take their work seriously and deserve every penny that they charge for their work, which is likely to at least retain its value if not increase in value over time. These are the pieces that will truly become the cherished heirlooms and valued antiques of tomorrow.|
|Secondly, there are those who, unfortunately, are less scrupulous about what they offer for sale and how they represent it.|
|When it comes to shopping for Windsor chairs, I would advise that you observe the following, if you want quality work that will last:|
|1) Endeavor to educate yourself about the furniture from reliable sources rather than simply allowing someone who is trying to sell you something to be your only source of information. There are a number of good books on Windsors which are listed above. Increasing your knowledge is the best route to a sharper eye for selecting quality work as well as enhancing the pleasure and appreciation in ownership of such work.|
|2) Shop around and critically examine the work of different furniture makers. Seek to inform yourself about the furniture makers and find out whether they make the chairs themselves or whether they simply finish and sell them. There are a number of small factories turning out inferior work, which in turn is bought and distress-finished by others who then offer them for sale as "authentic reproductions." A "museum quality finish" (or other similar jargon) will not mean much to the purchaser when in 5 or 10 years (sometimes much less) the chairs are falling apart. There are individuals and small firms making and selling tables and case goods that naturally would like to offer Windsors to go with their other furniture. These persons are usually well meaning yet often unaware that the factory chairs they offer are inferior work.|
|If you invest in hand-made furniture from a master cabinetmaker or chair maker, you will not be disappointed. You should expect to pay more for their work but keep in mind:|
|1) There is genuine satisfaction that comes from purchasing and owning work from an artisan who has obviously put him or herself into a piece of furniture and,|
|2) Their work is likely to outlast your great grandchildren with genuine aesthetic value rather than barely surviving a current trend in decorative style.|