Club Chairs

Written by Sierra Rein
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Most people describe club chairs as upholstered easy chairs with large, padded armrests. The backs are usually placed low, while the armrests themselves are typically as high as the backs. Leather is considered the most common material to use on club chairs, but other fabrics are also employed in their manufacturing.

The Origin of Club Chairs

The term "club" in "club chair" refers to the clubs found in 19th century England. These clubs were frequented by gentlemen who wished to find a private, male-only refuge, especially one that was far away from the womenfolk at home. Large, upholstered leather chairs were common sights in these gentlemen's clubs.

Club chairs often took the London street names where the clubs were located, like the classic St. James and Picadilly chairs. Victorian leather club chairs were also named because they were particularly designed to match 19th century Chesterfield sofas. As soon as the look became popular, international versions began popping up in other countries like Germany, France, America, and Belgium.

The 20th century brought two unique styles of the club chair into existence: the overstuffed chair, and sleeker ones inspired by more modern designs. The works of architect Mies van de Rohe and artist Wassily Kandinsky inspired many of the latter chairs. During the 1930s, French furniture artists introduced art deco club chairs, which were more formal than their British cousins, while the first American club chair emerged in the 1950s with the Eames chair.


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