The Morris chair has been popular for more than 100 years. It is said to have been created by 19th-century writer, designer and socialist William Morris. Although there is some question as to whether Morris actually designed it, it is universally known by his name. The Morris chair is known for comfort and simple functionality, and is usually constructed with a cushioned seat and back, and sometimes padded arms.
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Arts and Crafts
The most common style of Morris chair is the Arts and Crafts style. Chairs made in this style are typically constructed of quarter-sawn oak, a type of lumber made distinct by the dramatic rays that move across the grain of the wood. The lines of the chair are simple, and its vertical members are accented by slats that run up the sides of the chair under the arms.
Many Morris chairs were made with leather-covered cushions for the back and seat. More elaborate variations on a Morris chair are entirely upholstered, so that they are closer in feel and style to a modern recliner. These modified chairs are not technically Morris chairs, but were very strongly influenced by the Morris chair.
The simple lines of the Morris chair make it easily modifiable into other styles, particularly a more contemporary style that emphasises a stripped-down appearance. By using lighter, thinner materials and removing the vertical slats under the arms, but retaining the adjustable back, the Morris chair can be transformed into something very contemporary looking while still remaining technically a Morris chair. The look of a Morris chair is further transformed by the use of fabrics and materials that were not typically used on a Morris chair.
In most Morris chairs, the back is connected to the seat frame with two hinges that are screwed on at the back of the seat frame and the bottom of the back frame. It is supported by a crosspiece that sits horizontally behind it, and this crosspiece is supported by slots in the back of the arms. There are usually three of these slots in each arm, so the angle of the back can be adjusted by moving the crosspiece into a different pair of slots. This is an early version of the modern recliner, the difference being that the technology of the Morris chair, because it is made of solid wood and is so simple, can last quite literally for centuries.
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