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Saturday, February 7, 2015

X- Frame, or Campeche Chair (ca.1820)

The completed Chair
Strictly speaking, this is not a Campeche chair. The Campeche chair is a type of chair popular in the plantations of the south and was made in Mexico and in the southern United States in the 18th and early 19th century. The name comes from Campeche, Mexico, a state bordering Yucatan in southeast Mexico. The form is believed to have originated there.

While these chairs were being made there, Europe saw the emergence of what the English refer to as a X-Frame Chair. This name comes from the X shaped base of the chair that can be seen from the side. The X-frame design is a twist on The Curule chair, an form first seen in Ancient Rome and later to reemerge as part of the neoclassical period of European furniture history. In the Curule chair, the X-Frame that makes its design is seen from the front of the chair.

The design for the X-Frame chair is so similar to it's Central American cousin, that all of these chairs are commonly referred to as Campeche chairs. What ever you want to call it, this chair is very rare and of all of the examples I looked at in researching this post, it is the finest.

The primary wood used in the frame is West Indies mahogany (see my last post) and the entire frame is inlayed with sand-shaded satinwood. The curvilinear design is very much in keeping with the neoclassical ascetic (for comparison, see my last post) and the workmanship throughout was outstanding.

The joinery on one of the legs as well as one of the arms had loosened and I cleaned and glued the joinery in my shop. Other then that, I cleaned and waxed the existing finish on the chair. Because of the work done on the chair, I chose not to photograph the repairs, but chose to focus instead on the completed photos. This is quite a rare chair and I wonder if I will ever see another like it come through my shop!


1 comment:

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