The History of the Wingback chair

Timeless and modern, dramatic and refined yet elegant and majestic – the wingback chair has stood strong on its cabriole legs for hundreds of years.


But where did this design originate that we have come to love? Who was so creative to design this delicate yet regal piece? With a history as rich as it is captivating, the wingback chair has endured changes in material and styles over many years.


The history of the wingback chair starts in the 1600’s in England. Here the cold weather made the fireplace the gathering spot of the house, where families spend hours together. The Wingback chair came to live when the people designed a chair that could hold heat with the wings attached to a basic chair. Notably, the original purpose of this impressive furnishing was to keep the person seated, warm.


The Wingback chair gained popularity in 1720, the design was initially constructed from wood with flat, broad arms.

Born Furniture Wingbacks History of the wingback chair

Came the 18th-century, the wingback turned to comfort and began incorporating upholstery. At first only fabric was used, but leather soon gained popularity as well. Towards the 19th-century, the chairs were stuffed with horsehair for more padding. Bright patterns and ornate fabric embellishment was the way to go when upholstering a chair.

The Wingback chair’s style has changed over the years. Firstly, the French designed a bergère, an armchair with upholstered arms, back and frame. Designed for lounging in comfort with a deeper, wider seat, the bergère was more about function than form.

Born Furniture Wingbacks History of the wingback chair


However, the French weren’t the only ones reinventing the wingback. During the 18th-century the well-known furniture maker George Hepplewhite lowered the seat in some of his designs. Furthermore, Chippendale of England, modeled the wingback design by adding elegant frames and the finest fabrics for upholstery. Wingback chairs were seen in castles and became pieces associated with the upper class and the elite.

Over the years the Wingback chair has made its way to our homes. Designed in all sizes, fabrics, patterns and styles to perfectly fit into our homes. The wingback chair remains a symbol of comfort and elegance in modern décor. The now more informal piece is perfect for home decor in your living room, office and libraries.

Why not explore our range of Wingbacks and bring this historic piece into your home.

The Born Team

Visit our online showroom to view our Wingback collection

Born Furniture can provide you with magnificent furniture for your home, have a look at our Wingback Chairs.

 “Your home should tell the story of who you are,

and be a collection of what you love

Nate Berkus