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ElgaKoster

An 18th century metamorphic Dutch chair/bed

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ElgaKoster

For the last two months or so I have been trying to decide on a chair to make for the Cape Dutch bedroom, most of the Cape made chairs are more suitable for dining rooms...and then last week I saw this chair after I clicked on a link on a blog that I follow for Bonhams newest upcoming furniture action...and I started thinking this might be just what I looked for...last night one of my friends from The Netherlands send me the link as well suggesting that it might be a nice project for my house.

I think style wise it would look great with all the other furniture I have planned for the bedroom and in all my research on what people had in their houses in the early 1800's it seems that enough beds were very important to the people back then. Summers in the Cape is hot and dry and as a daybed I think this would have been a welcome piece of furniture for any lady. This will be a really nice piece to make in miniature, probably going to be my next big project.

post-6-0-54567300-1425818572_thumb.jpg

You can see it partly unfolded here http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22303/lot/22/

In all my research I found a wonderful source to explore what people really had in their houses back then, detailed inventories of households were done when people died and are now available online. In the 1700's it seems furniture was just stuffed haphazardly into rooms, with the coming of the British in the early 1800's decorating started to become more like we know it today with each room fulfilling a specific function. Here are links to three of the inventories, the older ones are all in Dutch, in the first link which are in Dutch, just look at how much stuff there is in the first room...a four poster bed, another bed, 60 chairs (why on earth?), a harpsichord and much more, this was in the days of slavery, if you scroll right down you will see the names of the slaves with their country of origin listed too.

http://databases.tanap.net/mooc/main_article.cfm?id=MOOC8%2F5%2E142a&freesearchkey=Eksteen

Two inventories in english

http://databases.tanap.net/mooc/main_article.cfm?id=MOOC8%2F43%2E30&freesearchkey=Chair

http://databases.tanap.net/mooc/main_article.cfm?id=MOOC8%2F45%2E129&freesearchkey=Chair

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Wm. R. Robertson

Looks like there are hinges on the front too..... I wonder if the seat flips up and makes it a third longer?

Can't wait to see your progress on this......

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ElgaKoster

I saw the hinges and emailed the auction house asking for more photos, hoping to get some in the next week, I am sure it must fold down to the front too, otherwise it won't really be long enough to sleep on. There is one in the Cooper Hewitt museum too, will have to go there whenever I am in New York again...except I see the chair is in storage :-(

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18319113/

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ElgaKoster

The auction house was kind enough to send me some really nice detail photos, today I asked the man who were helping me for some measurements telling him I want to build a scale version of the chair, he send me some extra measurements I didn't ask for saying he builds military models in his spare time. How cool is that!

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Bill Hudson

Great find.  It is nice when museums work with you in your research.  It looks like the seat folds out forward with the arm rests becoming legs. Can't imagine it being comfortable to sleep on. 

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ElgaKoster

Nope Bill I wouldn't want to sleep on it either, but as a daybed on a hot South African day for a lady being used to the cooler European weather back in the early 1800's I think it is perfect for an afternoon snooze with the new baby :-)

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ElgaKoster

I have started work on this dream project, first up was making twenty cabriole legs as I have decided to make five of these chairs, plus a few spare just in case :-)

I used my favorite technique of pin routing to make the legs.

image.jpg1_zpsnwek3f2q.jpg

Next I milled the mortises in the legs and the cut off the extra bits of wood on the top and bottom.

image.jpg2_zpsj4yo93gp.jpg

The wood I am using for this project is a South African wood Assegai, it is the first time I am using it and so far I love it, it has a fine closed grain with a waxy feel to it. Here is a link with more info on the wood.

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/curtisdent.htm

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miraclechicken

Very interesting. Looks like really nice wood too---

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