17 April 2021




Antique balloon back dining chairs

Antique balloon back dining chairs were named so as they were typically shaped like a hot air balloon.The chairs were usually constructed from quality wood like walnut or mahogany, and early examples of these chairs have a dipped crest or upper rail with rounded shoulders tapering towards the seat. The upper and mid-rails can be plain, but many examples have a carved or pierced decoration. The front legs are straight and typically have an octagonal section with a bulbous knob, and the back legs curve outwards. They have a horsehair filled drop-in seat that may feature a few buttons, and there is a noticeable absence of stretchers, as they were not considered necessary.

This style of dining chair first appeared in the 1830s and soon became popular. It proved to be a favourite for the next thirty or so years until the 1860s. The chair was developed over three phases; The first phase of development began during the late Regency Period in the early 1830’s; The second and third phases during the Victorian Period of 1837 to 1901.

The fashion for women at the time was to wear wide, expansive skirts, and furniture makers sought to accomodate this in their designs. Consequently, balloon back chairs do not have arms, as this allowed women to sit comfortably with their skirt arranged around them.

Antique balloon back dining chairs are highly sought after, and a pristine quality set of chairs can command a top price. Genuine antique chairs are available, but anyone seeking them must beware of signs of poor repairs or refurcishments, such as those that are covered in an inappropriate fabric. There are also a large number of reproduction chairs available, so it is best to seek out a specialist retailer who has the expertise to ensure the antique balloon back dining chairs you are interested in buying are genuine.

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