Take a Seat!

There are some lovely chairs in Aston Hall.

Scroll down the page to find out more about some of them.


The Porter's Chair

The Porter's Chair

The porter sat by the front door. In the days before bell pushes, no one would hear a door knocker in a house as large as Aston Hall.

The porter greeted the visitors. He was usually a big, burly sort of man. If he didn’t like the look of the person at the door he would turn them away. He acted like a bouncer of today.

The porter’s chair has sides to keep off the draughts and a little shelf (which would flap down when not in use) on which to keep a lantern.

A Seventeenth Century Chair

There would be probably only 2 or 3 chairs like this in the whole house. The chair is made from oak and it is made more comfortable with a cushion. This cushion is carved with a type of embroidery called blackwork.

The most important person sat in a chair. Today we still call someone leading a meeting ‘the chair’. There were plenty of ordinary stools or backstools (stools with a decoratively carved back) for other people to sit on.

a seventeenth century chair
a sheel back chair

A Shell Back Chair

There are only two of these chairs in existence. They are both at Aston Hall. The shell is an emblem of St James the Apostle, the patron saint of pilgrims.

These chairs were made in the early 17th century. The medallion face in the bottom was a popular sort of ornament 400 years ago. The medallions were copies of Renaissance originals. Such designs were brought to this country by continental craftsmen

A Farthingale Chair

This chair is an upholstered and padded chair from Stuart times. There were far more upholstered and padded chairs by the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries than there had been in earlier times.

They were covered with velvet or woven tapestry materials or Turkey-work (knotted wools on a canvas base). Studding and fringing added to the sumptuous look of the chair. Seats were needed that would allow ladies to sit comfortably in their voluminous farthingales., and some of these chairs had high seats.

a farthigale
a throne

A Throne

A throne is a special chair for a king or a queen. It has to make the person who sits in it look very grand and important. Thrones were made very big and were covered in rich material and decorations.

This throne has a framework of wood and is covered (or upholstered) with lovely, red velvet. The velvet is held in place with gold coloured studs. The legs are shaped into an X frame. This gave a strong shape to take the weight of the heavy padded seat, arms and back above.

This throne is a copy of the one in the picture of King Charles and his family that hangs on the wall nearby..

A Windsor Chair

Windsor chairs were first made around Windsor over 300 years ago. They are made by fitting the legs and back into holes in the solid wooden seat. A lot of skill was needed to make these chairs but craftsmen started making them in different areas all over the country.

Different places had their own slightly different designs for Windsor chairs. They were made for ordinary folk using whatever wood was available in the local area.

a windsor chair
a cane chair

A Cane Chair

The cane chair was invented in India. They became very popular in England after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was a new and cheap replacement for those destroyed in the fire.

Cane seats were more comfortable than solid wood and better wearing than fabric.

The fashion for cane chairs spread. Cane chairs became so popular that upholstered chair makers complained!

Queen Victoria's Chair

This is one of two state chairs made specially for the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Aston Hall in 1858. Queen Victoria came to open Aston Hall as a museum ‘to be a boon and comfort to her people’.

The X shaped chair is covered with crimson Genoa velvet 'enriched with gilt metal Tudor studs'. Fringing has been added. The royal coat of arms is displayed on the back.

Queen Victoria's chair
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