The 19th-century nursing chair

Words by:
William Gregory MRICS Golding Young and Mawer
Featured in:
March 2017

The nineteenth-century nursing chair is one of the more regular inclusions within Collective Auction sales. It must be a reflection of its importance and popularity within its age that so many were produced, and still survive today.
The style of a low upholstered open chair allowed a Victorian mother to nurse or breastfeed her baby in comfort whilst often wearing a stiff corset. The changing fashion allowed for a variety of different designs and styles, all on a basic theme, which makes them popular more as bedroom or occasional chairs in today’s market.

Woods such as oak, mahogany, walnut and rosewood were used and then decorated with carving or marquetry inlay. The upholstery demonstrates the changing fashion in materials, with many reupholstered then and even today, to enhance comfort and more modern styles and fabrics.

The changing role of a simple chair from nursing to a more decorative item demonstrates that its nurturing and adaptable nature still attracts loyalty from auction bidders.

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