Jun 7, 2011

Klismos, Come Hither

I saw this fantastic iron Klismos-legged Maison Ramsey coffee table on eBay and nearly gasped in delight.  Isn't it terrific? I'd put a pane of glass on it, maybe a tinted glass.  Pink hued tinted glass, even.

You can buy it here. 

The klismos is one of the oldest shapes in the history of furniture. The shape dates back to the 5th Century BC, when the design was perfected as a chair by the Greeks.  The chair had four curving, splayed (oft called "saber/sabre") legs and curved back rails with a narrow concave backrest between them. 

Often illustrated on Greek pottery, the design was resurrected in the French Directoire, Empire, English Regency, and Duncan Phyfe styles. Most klismos-inspired pieces have flaring saber legs placed in opposition to one another, though many interpretations will have only two rear saber legs.

410-420BC greek vase.  via the Met
No original Greek chairs survived into modern times. However, the Greeks left a rich history of sculpture and paintings depicting the chair. One of the most famous sculptures depicting the chair is of Poseidioppos, resting on a klismos while holding court in Athens.

Poseidioppos chilling out.  statue at the Vatican.
The klismos shape might have faded into history were it not for the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid-18th century. The discovery of Greek and Roman ruins sparked the Neoclassical revival in Europe.  And since then, the klismos style stands as one of the most frequently reinterpreted shapes in furniture making.  The well-proportioned shape and graceful silhouette adds a timeless elegance to a room, be it a set of chairs around a table or a lone bench used as an occasional perch.  

A pristine example of klismos-style design.  1937 chair by the venerable 20th century furniture designer T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings via the Met
Saber leg klismos bench by T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings available on 1stdibs
Reproduction of a Swedish-style klismos chair by Niermann Weeks
A handsome Hollywood Regency style klismos upholstered chair available via MJH Design Arts

Klismos leg table available via 1stdibs

Fantastic!  from Beeline Home by Bunny Williams.

Klismos loveseat by Restoration Hardware

Russian Empire klismos chairs.  via Elle Decor

Bilhuber Associates

Robert Lighton New York's fully upholstered version

Midcentury modern meets timeless klismos.  via Metropolitan Home
Klismos chairs at Blackman Cruz.  photo by Katie Denham of katiedid

Love the chairs and suspended bench. Not so much on those candle pedestals, though.  via DecorPad

Be still my beating heart.  That's a brass klismos chair by De Sousa Hughes.  via Elle Decor

An extremely well-composed room.  That wall treatment is phenom. by Bilhuber via House & Garden


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you like the Greek stuff ? check this site out. www.markharmanfurniture,co,uk

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