We previously mentioned a pair of chairs Emily purchased on Our First Outing (yes, capitalized, because it was the beginning of an era!). These chairs are fabulous and, at first glance, we were convinced they were Hitchcock chairs.
Some background on the Hitchcock chair:
Lambert Hitchcock was a wood-working apprentice in the early 1820s. During this time, he learned to appreciate the work of clockmaker Silas Cheney. Silas created a cheaper wood clock that was produced in an assembly line fashion as a way to make them more accessible to a broader market (the popular brass clocks at the time were too expensive for most). Mr. Hitchcock wanted to replicate the assembly line method for chairs and began production in 1820-1821. Most of the chairs produced were either black or dark green with illustrious gold/bronze stenciling.
Authenticated Hitchcock chairs from Still River Antiques
Back to my chairs – The initial price tag on the chairs was $250 for the pair. It was the second day of the sale, and everything had been marked down 50%. (Just to make sure we’re on the same page, the price is now $125 for the pair.) After Lainey pointed out the necessary (or, the assumed need for) repairs on one of the seats, we got them for the basement price of $100. I think the man working the estate sale had heart palpitations!
The big question then came: Are these real or replicated Hitchcock chairs?
Quick checklist on “How to Identify Hitchcock Chairs” can be found on ehow.com (here). My chairs have the right coloring and are definitely stenciled. There is no stamp on the backside (the company did not start labeling the chairs until 1825), and the gold banding goes all the way around the front legs. Are my chairs true Hitchcock chairs? Maybe, maybe not. If they’re just Hitchcock-style, does that make them value-less? No! After Hitchcock’s death, imitations started being made in his factory and across the country. And, more importantly, they are beautiful pieces of furniture, and the experience and thrill of buying them was worth every penny.
The best part of the chairs is how awesome they look in my living room! I’ve put them under a large mirror to complement my modern black and white herringbone couch and arm-chair. I think mixing the old with the new is an easy way to add depth and interest to a room.How do you mix in old pieces with newer, modern pieces?
The history of Hitchcock chairs was found on AntiqueWeb.com.