M930.50.1.378 | "Bass" Lady's Easy-Chair

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"Bass" Lady's Easy-Chair
John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
4.5 x 3.5 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Miscellaneous (671) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

Easy chairs are used by men and women during this period. Usually, chairs that have little or no arm support are for ladies, as their skirts might be too wide to fit otherwise. Easy chairs are associated with the 17th century in Europe, at which time they had high backs and wings to prevent draughts. Winged easy chairs are known as grandfather chairs in the 1880s and '90s, or fireside chairs when they are placed near to the source of heat. Grandfather chairs might have received their name at the same time that grandfather (tall-case) clocks came by their popular name in 1878. This illustration shows a padded chair that can be placed away from the fireside for a lady to sit comfortably upon. Deeply sunk buttons emphasize the curves and thickness of the upholstery and add busier interest to the visual nature of the padding. Braided edges and fringes typify fashions popular after 1865.

R. K. Symonds and B. B. Whinery, Victorian Furniture (London: Studio Editions, 1987), pp. 205-6.

Source : Crowding the Parlour [Web tour], by Jane Cook, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    This is a print of a low "Bass" lady's easy chair, upholstered and finished with buttons and fringed tassels.

  • Where

    Such chairs were popular in bourgeois North American homes from the 1870s onwards.

  • When

    Between 1825 and 1875, the use of springs and the covering of sides and backs of easy chairs became popular. This wood engraving was printed between 1850 and 1899.

  • Who

    The print is stamped "J-WALKER." John Walker was a designer, engraver and printer in Montreal.