Having a Queen Anne wingback chair in your parlor or bedroom can create the perfect romantic ambiance for both a historic and modern home. This style is a graceful classic whose popularity hasn't waned over the past few centuries, and if you're thinking about finding one to add to your space, check out the history behind this style and what makes it so unique.
The Queen Anne Wingback Chair Arrives
During Queen Anne's reign (1702-1714), a refined and graceful English architectural and interior design style developed as professionals looked towards the continent for inspiration. Furniture that was created in the Queen Anne style can generally be dated between 1725 and 1750, though revivals of the style appeared at various points throughout more recent history.
The wingback chair that developed during this period was fully upholstered but left the wood cabriole legs exposed. The top of the chair was designed with a graceful curve, making it feminine and elegant. The sides of the chair were curved slightly inward as well, to instill a cozy aesthetic look and to ward off the draftiness that came from this historic architecture. The most significant revival of these chairs was completed by the Victorians, who adopted the chairs for their own use and often referred to them as Grandfather chairs because they were used in the bedrooms of elderly, frail, and ill people so that the patients could sit near the fire without fear of catching cold from the building's draftiness.
Identifying Queen Anne Furniture
It can be difficult to identify Queen Anne wingback chairs and other antique furniture from the period because they share some of the same design elements as William and Mary or Chippendale styles. Yet, there are a few characteristics that you can look for to identify an authentic wingback in the wild.
Cabriole legs were unique to the style, having never been used before. Following in the trend of having animal carved feet, this furniture's legs were inspired by the rear legs of a leaping goat. Because of the way its legs are cut, there's a balance that's created in the chair which can support the heavy seat on its slim legs. Therefore, no stretchers needed to be used. While this is the typical foot style for this chair, you can find examples of other animal-inspired legs such as lions paws on occasion.
The woods that were used to create these pieces were always rich looking and the carpenters often embellished them with carved fan or shell motifs. Some of the woods favored by these craftsmen include:
In the latter years of this period, mahogany was imported and came into favor as well. This was used in the wealthiest homes, as it was far too expensive for many people to afford.
Smaller in Scale
An important thing to note when looking for historic furniture from the 18th century is that chairs, and other pieces, were built on a smaller scale than some previous and subsequent styles were. While the seats were widened to allow for growing skirt circumferences, antique examples of these chairs are usually more petite than 19th or 20th century reproductions were.
Queen Anne Wingback Values
Nearly all furniture has a pretty steep price-tag, and Queen Anne wingbacks are no different. Authentic antique examples from the 18th century are worth a breathtaking amount of money, reaching the tens of thousands of dollars for pristine, unrestored pieces. Comparatively, vintage Queen Anne wingbacks aren't as expensive, only reaching a few thousand dollars on average. Besides age and condition, individual style does play a factor in these piece's desirability. Much of the market's demand is dictated by consumer interest, so prices for embroidered, leather, velvet, or broadcloth chairs fluctuate based on the buyers' desires.
For example, a genuine wingback circa 1740 is listed in one online auction for about $20,000 and another 18th century walnut wingback is listed for around $40,000. A claw and ball feet walnut wingback from the same period is listed for a little over $35,000 as well. In short, the older the pieces are, the more amount of money you're going to spend on collecting these historic chairs.
Bringing Back the Wingback
If you're looking to add a pop of a history into your office or living room, a Queen Anne Wingback is a great idea for you. They come in such a variety of prints, patterns, textures, and colors that there's truly a design tailor-made to bring your space to life. Whether you're fortunate enough to be able to afford an authentic 18th century piece or you have to settle for a great deal on a well-loved mid-century one, you can't go wrong with this choosing this quirky design.