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Friday, 17 June 2011

Traditional Orkney Chairs

The Island of Orkney, situated off the North East of Scotland has a rich history and is the birthplace of one particular item of antique furniture - the traditional Orkney chair. These chairs are classified within the 'Scottish Vernacular Furniture' bracket, meaning furniture native to Scotland. The Orkney chair has become very popular with our customers all over the world for both their practical and decorative uses.

Trends for 'country' and rustic interiors have fuelled the demand for antique Orkney chairs, with an appealing combination of traditional craftsmanship and historical elements to them. Our range of these chairs has never been better and we're proud to say that we've shipped Orkney Chairs to customers from Colorado to Harrogate!

Victorian pine framed Orkney chair (Click image to view more details)
Originally, the Orkney chair was a straw stool devised hundreds of years ago as a simple yet practical furnishing, low to the ground to avoid the smoke from the large open fires they used to keep warm through the windy Scottish winters. The development of the straw back was a later addition and the chairs were often made from driftwood as the island of Orkney was not abundant in natural wood resources.

The later addition of the high backed design was intended to shelter the occupant from draughts by trapping heat and providing a warm protective chair. The ideal spot for one of these chairs is around an inglenook fireplace to give a traditional feel, although many admirers of these chairs simply love the design and history behind them so choose them for their hallways, landings or passageways as a decorative furnishing. These versatile chairs could also be useful as nursing chairs due to their low seat and graduated back support.
Victorian Orkney Chair with Drawer (Click image to view more details)

It is thought that the addition of a drawer beneath the seat of some Orkney chairs was designed for the man of the house to keep his belongings in,  this aspect will probably appeal to most men even now!

For those who would like to find out more, comprehensive further reading can be found within Bernard D Cotton's 'Scottish Vernacular Furniture' - this book can be bought online here

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