Fan-back Arm-chair

Description and History

fan-back arm-chair
  • Overall Dimensions: 24" x 25" x 42" tall
  • Seat Dimensions: 21" wide x 18" deep
  • Standard Seat Height: 17.5"
  • Between Arms: 18"
  • Details: click link for picture
    crest ear, knuckle, leg, bracing spindles

See Also: Fan-back Side-chair

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The distinquishing feature of the fan-back Windsor is its decoratively-turned "stiles," the two main uprights which form the back. The stiles angle outward on most examples, as do the spindles, creating a fan-like appearance.

The back is topped with a bent crest, the ends of which are often carved in a spiral pattern known as a volute. Other carvings, such as the rosette, were occasionally used, while many were not carved at all.

Bracing spindles were often used on both the arm-chairs and side-chairs.

The fan-back arm-chair bears a striking resemblance to the comb-back, and some confuse the two. Again, the fan-back has its characteristic stiles, while the comb-back does not. The comb-back also has arms which continue through the back either as a single, bent unit or connected by an "arm-crest." The fan-back's arms are attached to the stiles, secured there by a peg or a decorative nail. (I use a long screw, countersunk, and then plugged to resemble a peg.)

Fan-back arm-chair with bracing spindles.

Fan-back side-chair seats were most often of the shield type, though the oval was sometimes used. Conversely, arm-chair seats were mostly oval, sometimes nearly round, with the shield seat used less commonly. I have adopted the shield-type seat for both of my fan-backs so that they are better matched when purchased as a dining set.

Fan-back side-chairs were produced in great numbers in Philadelphia and New England, beginning as early as 1760. Arm-chairs were particularly common in coastal Massachusetts, including Nantucket. New England arm-chairs show strong influence from Philadelphia models, though relatively few arm-chairs were made there. The style was largely ignored in New York.

See Also: Fan-back Side-chair

Prices -- Order/Contact
Send a Link to Friends or Family

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