ethan allen maddox chair

Yesterday I was catching up on some of my magazine reading and catalog scanning when I did a quick flip through the most recent Ethan Allen catalog.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see a very slick update of an American Queen Anne/Chippendale style chair.  Typically Ethan Allen creates decent, affordable repros of American classics like a Chippendale chair.  They are nice, but nothing remarkable.  However, the Maddox chair is something quite different and a piece I hope to use in a project one day.

ethan allen maddox chair wood

So here is an excellent example of an American Chippendale style chair, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection:

american chippendale chair met

And here is an excellent example of a Queen Anne style chair, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection:

american queen anne chair met

Here is a typical Ethan Allen repro-

ethan allen repro chippendale chair

And here is the Maddox-

ethan allen maddox upholstered ethan allen maddox

What is so great about this reinterpretation, is the combo of the most simple and modern elements of both Queen Anne and Chippendale style.  The Queen Anne often has a simple vase shape back splat that forms the profiles of birds in the negative space on either side.  Compared to the more fussy, decorative carved detailing on the Chippendale, this Queen Anne element is supremely elegant.  However, the Chippendale chair often has a more square outline to the back overall, with the the top of the chair back coming almost to points, stretching outwards.  The Maddox uses this more square look to give the chair a more modern feel.  And finally, the Maddox used the fairly rarely used Marlborough leg.  This is a straight, square leg, compared to the much more decorative cabriole leg more commonly used in both of these styles.

Here is an example of the Marlborough leg on a Chippendale chair, also at the Met-

american chippendale marlbough leg


So bravo, Ethan Allen, an excellent update and reinterpretation of  three great American chair styles.  Did you hire Philippe Starck to design???

Here is his Masters chair, a melding of three great Mid-Century Modern chairs-

starck masters





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