There is nothing surprising in the appreciation with which Chippendale chairs are meeting, for, whether an original or a really good copy, such a chair is always a pleasure to the beholder. The designs of the great master are purely individual, and for the most part distinctly English in character, though the influence of his interest in the French styles is seen in the " cabriole " legs and " ribbon " backs with which we are all familiar. Later, when some of the beautiful old English gardens were being ruined by being turned into landscape gardens, as a result of Sir William Chambers's efforts to introduce the Chinese art into England, Chippendale also came under this influence, but pieces of that time are not considered nearly so fine as earlier examples of his art in its simpler and more characteristically English form.
The Heppelwhite chairs are often known by their heart or shield shaped backs, and are very graceful. The Sheraton patterns are frequently somewhat similar, though inclined to be more severe. The still later Adams period is also well represented in modern reproductions, and in drawing-rooms decorated after this manner any occasional chairs should be in the same style.
Apart, however, from these occasional chairs there must always be at least a couple of large upholstered chairs in either an old or new pattern. The worst of these chairs is that 'they often remain vacant because it seems selfish to annex such supremacy of comfort and leave others to be seated less luxuriously. Many people, however, really prefer an upright chair, especially for tea and conversation. What is considered a lady's armchair is very useful in a room; it is a small, high - backed chair of this type, well stuffed. There is something rather unsociable about the vastness of the larger pattern, in which the occupant seems shut off, and quite a long way away from those with whom she is conversing. Such chairs are indeed decidedly more suitable for reading. But the smaller, shorter-seated ones are equally convenient for reading or talking, and have the additional advantage that they take up far less room.
This type of chair is now generally supplied with a loose down cushion, which adds greatly to its comfort. As regards the covering, printed linen is the favourite fabric. In this a greater softness of colouring is to be obtained than in either chintz or cretonne. The greatest care must be exercised in choosing a pattern, as it is used in such a mass that it results in either making or marring a room. The loose covers, though not so fashionable, must always remain with us on account of their convenience from the practical point of view of cleaning. Moreover, they can be made to fit so much more trimly now that they are secured by neat little press buttons instead of the tapes that were always betraying their presence, or the linen buttons that generally came off, and even if they did not do so, showed a gaping join.
With regard to the other kind of chairs described, those of satinwood frequently have cane seats and backs, which are sometimes supplied with loose brocade-covered cushions. The Chippendale chairs generally have a padded seat, also brocade covered. But the loose seats with which these chairs are sometimes fitted are far more convenient, as the seats can be taken out and re-covered with the greatest ease by the merest tyro. Copies of the original old Italian brocades, in lovely shades of red and green, are frequently employed for these coverings, and the astute housewife will pick up scraps at the sales for the purpose. Then, too, it is a delightful task to embroider a seat for a chair in either linen, or satin, or canvas, in the o 1 d-f a s h i o n e d woolwork. These are especially appropriate and charming in the Queen Anne type of chair.
A very economical notion for anyone who feels the need of another "comfy" chair in a room, yet does not wish to incur the rather considerable expense of an additional padded one, is to have an ordinary wicker chair of good quality transformed by having a loose cover of printed linen made to fit and to entirely envelop it. If there are upholstered chairs or a sofa in the room similarly covered the effect is very good and these wicker chairs are always comfortable.