Antique Morris Chairs
Morris chairs were one of the earliest styles of reclining chairs and were first marketed in England around 1866.
History & Description
Designed from an Ephraim Colman prototype, the chair was adapted by Morris & Company, which was run by noted British furniture designer, William Morris.
Morris chairs feature a number of characteristic designs, such as a hinged back, high un-upholstered armrests and a seat with a reclining back. Original Morris chairs were heavily decorated and were made of dark, stained woodwork. Later versions made by Gustav Stickley were larger, sleeker and had no external ornamentation.
Guide to collectors
Morris chairs are regularly sold at international auction houses. Examples have been sold at auction through major companies such as Bonhams and Christie's. Chairs have bene known to sell from $200 to £2,000, with the most desirable Morris chairs – those designed by Gustav Stickley – sold for prices exceeding $25,000.
The William Morris Society is a useful source for existing owners or prospective buyers of Morris chairs and can be found at Morrissociety.org.
The Morris chair style has been repeatedly copied and reproduced and is still manufactured today. Without a doubt, the most popular and desirable examples of Morris chairs were produced by American furniture designer, Gustav Stickley. As with all Stickley products, his Morris chairs are extremely collectible and originals consistently sell for thousands of dollars.
In December 1998, an oak bow-arm Morris chair, designed by Gustav Stickley, circa 1902, realised a price of $29,900 through Christie’s, New York.
In December 1996, an oak bow-arm Morris chair, designed by Gustav Stickley, circa 1902 to 1903, realised a price of $25,300 through Christie’s, New York.
In September 2009 at Bonhams in Los Angeles, an oak oversized Morris chair, made by Roycroft, circa 1900, was sold for $2,440.
In May 2009, a Hawaiian Koa wood Morris chair, made in the 1920s, realised a price of $1,830 through Bonhams, San Francisco.