PROPERTY FROM THE HIGHLY IMPORTANT AMERICANA COLLECTION OF GEORGE S. PARKER II FROM THE CAXAMBAS FOUNDATION
The easy chair form or what is now commonly referred to as the "wing chair," originated in England in the 1600s but did not appear as a product of Colonial American workshops until around 1720. The term "easy chair" derived from the old French term aisie, meaning "conducive to ease or comfort." The introduction of the form in America during the William and Mary period marked radical changes in the furniture trade. As one of the first almost entirely upholstered furniture forms to arrive in America, its manufacture necessitated the cooperation of two different craftsmen, the cabinetmaker and the upholsterer.
Upholstered seating furniture emphasized comfort, luxury reserved for wealthy individuals who could afford the expensive fabrics and upholstery materials which had to be imported from Europe prior to the development of an American textile industry. By the time this chair was made, a domestic textile industry had been established. Textiles did, however, remain costly and the privilege of comfort was still that of the wealthy and the upholstering materials and fabrics were, by far, the most expensive component of the chair. Chippendale chairs of this sort were commonly upholstered in wool moreen, silk damask, or embroidered needlework.
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