Chairs by Judith Miller — Books

Judith Miller has the same affliction I do. Like cat hair to my velvet sofa pillows, she’s attracted to chairs. Adores them.

Before leaving the house, she has to raise her right hand and swear to her husband that she absolutely will not bring home any more single chairs from the antiques market.
My girl.

I heard Judith—one of the world’s leading experts in antiques—relate that tale during her Martha Radio interview last week and I knew I needed to get my hands on her latest book.

Chairs by Judith Miller

I’m going to tell you right now that Miller’s Chairs (Conran Octopus Ltd., 2009) is a must have for a furniture aficionado. She profiles over one hundred of the most notable and interesting chairs, past and present.

Arts and Crafts LadderbackGerald Summers Bent Plywood Armchair
Arne Jacobsen Egg ChairWainscot Armchair

Coffee table worthy? YES. Nick Pope’s brilliant ‘Chair Portraits’ alone are worth the price of purchase. Don’t miss the vibrant Arne Jacobsen 3107’s like fresh wildflowers in a meadow. Hmmm, maybe I need two books and I’ll take one apart and frame its photos. (Told you I’m afflicted.)

But more than that. Miller delivers a first-rate course on successful chair designs. It’s a course that will hold your interest and that you can attend with glass of wine or cup of tea in hand, and while enveloped in your favorite chair.

The periods, styles and designers are here: Queen Anne, Louis XV, Chippendale, Regency, Thonet, Stickley, Eames, Jacobsen. And the forms: Ladder, Fan, Hammock, Egg.

American Queen Anne Wing ChairHill House Ladderback
Daniel Marot style Side ChairLouis XV Fauteuil

Miller starts her detailed profiles with a seventeenth century Wainscot Armchair and her historical discussion with a gilded throne made for King Tut. Seat by seat, she leads us all the way to Castle’s sculptural Nirvana from 2007. You’ll learn about the designers, historical facts, design details and ergonomic properties.

Did you know that the Victorian Chaise Lounge’s “open form could comfortably accommodate…ladies dressed in large, voluminous skirts fashionable at that time?” Or that “a pile of plastic buckets was reportedly the inspiration for the sleek, sexy” (and stackable) Panton chair?

Fun facts here, Design Junkies.

This book just came out and I already consider mine a classic. Pick up a copy, sit down and enjoy.

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7 Comments for “Chairs by Judith Miller — Books”

Ok, I’m a (not-so-secret) chair lover, too! I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the sculptural nature of the chair that’s so appealing to me! Each one has it’s own story and beauty. Thanks for sharing this book! I can’t wait to curl up on my fave chair and get inspired!

Hi Sonu!

I’m glad you’re the same way and I’m finding out that it’s a common appreciation. I think you are right about the sculptural quality of chairs and it was great to see all the different solutions to the same challenge (creating a comfortable, stylish place to sit). I know you’ll enjoy the book.

Thanks for popping in,

[…] since posting that review of Judith Miller’s new book, Chairs, I’ve learned that many of you share the same chair-craving affliction. In the U.S., you can […]

Thanks, Kathy! The book is at the top of my wish list now.
And here’s an invitation to tour my basement chair museum. Open every day.

Hey Diana,

It really is a beautiful book that I know you’ll enjoy. And ‘Basement Chair Museum:’ I’ll be right over. Seriously, the stories behind those chairs might make for a nice post.

Keep diving,
— Kathy

[…] If you’ve been visiting for any length of time, you know that I’m enamored with the design of chairs. To design a comfortable and attractive chair is not an easy thing, and that’s why good chair designs become classics. Read more about classic chair designs here. […]

Sounds like good reading/ I too have been collecting chairs for over forty eight years but mostly English & Dutch from the 16th & 17th centuries. I have amassed a wonderful interesting group of chairs that should be studied and pictured in a book as well. Keep up the good work and keep finding those interesting chairs that bring you lots of joy.
George Way
Staten Island, New York

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