An Early Victorian Winfield Design Steel Rocking Chair c.1840-50

Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1840-50
Height: 37” or 20” at seat
Width: 26.25”
Depth: 45” (all at extremities)

In the manner of, or indeed made by R.W. Winfield, the black tubular steel frame with pad arms above scrolling supports and serpentine base rails, now freshly button-back upholstered in Colefax and Fowlers’ Perseus carpet inspired fabric, the chair being comfortable and useable and surviving from early Victorian England.

The rocking chair is in good overall order and has been upholstered by our upholsterer recently with the frame being tightened.

Rocking chairs were originally made with curved rockers attached to the feet of ordinary chairs. This unusual type of rocking chair used the curved frame of the chair to create the rocking motion. Examples were produced both in tube metal and in strip metal and the upholstery is slung between the top of the back and the seat, rather like a deck chair. During the 1840s, iron tube, normally used for beds, was adapted for rocking chairs. In 1844 Charles Dickens and his wife, Catherine, rented 1 Devonshire Terrace, London, and the inventory of the house included an iron rocking chair in the dining room.

Metal was originally used in the making of chairs in Paris by the company, Gandillot & Cie, from circa 1828 onwards. Both iron and steel furniture became progressively more popular over the course of the 19th century both across Europe and America. A similar version belongs to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The firm of R.W. Winfield specialised in metal furniture, particularly beds, and between 1827 and 1854 took out several patents relating to the construction of beds and sofas using iron tubing. Their stand at the Exhibition of 1851 included a rocking chair of tubular brass, similar to this one.

This is an early example of its type and now with the contemporary twist it makes for a real eye catching and comfortable statement piece.