Porters Chair
History, Interior Design

The History of Porter’s Chairs

A porter’s chair. The ultimate in glamour, with pride of place in the most sophisticated entrance hall or sitting room — but you may be surprised to know that the origins of this most upmarket of armchairs are rather more humble.

A porter’s chair was a type of chair used in medieval England and later France. Usually formed in a high-grade leather or red velvet, it was placed by the front door of an estate or home for use by a gatekeeper servant who was in charge of screening guests and visitors.

Since there were often cold breezes near a front door, the chair was designed to envelop and keep the servant relatively warm in his task of remaining at the door for long periods. It is best described as a hollowed-out egg shape, very high and enclosed back, standing on end, four legs, with hand rests and usually with a notch for a lantern at the side, allowing the person to sink back into it out of the wind and await visitors’ knocks.

Hall porter’s chairs were already considered old-fashioned by the mid-19th century, and they became obsolete in the early 20th century, thanks mostly to the rise of the latch key as the preferred security measure of countless homeowners.

Nowadays porter’s chairs are the ultimate statement piece, available in various designs, colours and materials.

A chair originally designed for the staff is now fit for a king. Click to Create your own Porter’s chair now

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