Klismos Chair

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings c. 1937

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings
c. 1937

If you are going to walk the walk, you should talk the talk.

What is a klismos chair?

Klismos Chair: An ancient form of chair that remains popular today.  The Ancient Greeks first developed the chair as evidenced by  pottery and stone from that period.   It is characterized by tapering, out- curved legs, known as saber legs, and a curved back.  

Greek vase depicting a klismos chair, c. 5th century B.C.

Greek vase depicting a klismos chair, c. 5th century B.C.

Klismos chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs, on the stele of Xanthippos, Athens, ca. 430-20 BCE.

Klismos chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs, on the stele of Xanthippos, Athens, ca. 430-20 BCE.

Klismos meets windsor, with a touch of Thonet

In the early 1800’s,  Boston furniture maker Samuel Gragg developed  an iconic version of the klismos chair.  He married the saber legs to a back that resembled the classic windsor chair.  Gragg used the same process to create his chair that Thonet is credited for developing for his bentwood chairs 40 years later.  Gragg dubbed his chair  the “Elastic Chair.”

design-dictionary-burl-cutting-collage.jpg

Examples throughout history.

Some Klismos Chairs throughout history, clockwise: Nicolai Abildgaard, c.1790, Attributed to John Finlay (Active Circa 1799–1833). Lucite Santorini Klismos chair from Dragonette, Klismos greek reproduction, scandinavian neoclassical by Niermann Weeks.

Some Klismos Chairs throughout history, clockwise: Nicolai Abildgaard, c.1790, Attributed to John Finlay (Active Circa 1799–1833). Lucite Santorini Klismos chair from Dragonette, Klismos greek reproduction, scandinavian neoclassical by Niermann Weeks.

Rooms

My home and the pair that got away.

I searched forever for my set of 8 klismos dining chairs.

Last summer, I should have bought this pair at the East Hampton Antiques Show.

Design DictionaryLynn Byrne