"Country chairs" is a general term used to describe those simple, sometimes sturdy, yet often quite elegant chairs made originally by village craftsmen during the 18th and 19th centuries. Made for use in cottage and farmhouse, they were the inspiration of a pre-factory age when individual interpretation and regional differences prevailed. Largely uninfluenced by the dictates of fashion and changing taste, they retained their traditional, functional form throughout. In later years some were made in urban as well as rural areas and, as demand increased, many were made in factories. Thus the term "country" chair may seem inappropriate, and alternative names are sometimes used to distinguish these plain, vernacular chairs from the more elaborate and stylish chairs which graced the drawing-rooms and dining-rooms of wealthier households. The first part of this book opens with a brief history of the development of chairs and a pictorial description of the rural chairmakers in their woodland and village workshops. It then deals with the materials, tools and devices, and working methods, all of which are pertinent to the projects which follow. The second part comprises the projects themselves - arranged more or less chronologically and graded from easy to more difficult.
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