Antique, vintage and contemporary tub chairs
Antique, vintage and contemporary tub chairs, also known as captains’ chairs or barrel chairs, are collectible items of furniture. They are characterised by their compact nature and round back.
History of tub chairs
The tub chair first took shape during the reign of Louis XV of France in the 18th century before being taken up by US manufacturers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
Josef Hoffman was among the leading designers of tub chairs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and led the way for its rise to prominence in the art deco period, when the emphasis was placed upon producing tub chairs with soft, comfortable upholstery.
Antique or vintage?
Tub chairs produced more than 100 years ago are classed as “antique” according to the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act’s definition.
“Vintage” refers to pieces manufactured within the last 100 years and can include items made as recently as the 1980s.
Notable sales of antique, vintage and contemporary tub chairs
A pair of Regency tub chairs, based on a design by Thomas Chippendale the Younger, made $7,500 at Sotheby’s in April 2008.
A pair of late George III grained beech tub chairs achieved £9,000 at Sotheby’s in March 2007.
A pair of art moderne tub chairs, produced in around 1940, sold at Sotheby’s for $11,352 in June 2002.