A pair of barrel back Mid-century modern tub chairs with black steel frame and crafted wooden legs. Recently re-upholstered.
A little tub history...
Before the tub chair came into being life was probably pretty uncomfortable. If you wanted a seat, you’d be sitting on chairs designed to be used at the dining table and therefore weren’t all that comfortable.
It was not until the 18th century when chair design and construction began to consider comfort. That is, if you were wealthy. Expensive upholstery was used to give added comfort to the chair. There is no absolute record of when the tub chair was invented or who invented it, but what we do know is that one of the first tub chairs was introduced at the courts of King Louis XV of France. It is reported that he would frequently sit on it while his subjects were made to sit on lesser comfortable chairs when he held court. Sometimes sessions could go on for hours on end and it is understandable that it was not relished by most folk.
It is thought that the term ‘tub chair’ was coined when the chair was exported back to America in the late 18th century. In 1797 a Boston cabinet maker called George Bright started reproducing his own versions of the European chair which up until that point were not all that popular. At that stage, an American designer by the name of Charles F Montgomery noticed them and gave them their strange name. It is at this point that they took off. It is thought (although not proven) that the chair was so called because the shape resembled an old-fashioned bathtub. As their popularity increased, they were introduced to Europe and eventually Britain.
In Victorian England, the tub chair became extremely popular amongst the gentry and would be found in the homes of the well-to-do and in many of the Gentleman’s Clubs where the high-flyers and scholars of the day would meet and put the world to rights.
The popularity for comfortable, simplistic furniture continued into the 20th century particularly during the Art Deco period and was modernised again in the 1950’s by Italian designers who bedecked the chair in sumptuous fabrics and colours. They went out of favour somewhat in the 1970’s but by the turn of the 21st century with a renewed interest in all things retro, tub chairs have made a comeback.