Church Chair by Kaare Klint 1936

a church chair by Kaare Klint in the collection of Designmuseum Danmark

 

Shakerstole / Shaker chairs

 

In the typography of chairs in the new display at Designmuseum Danmark, a distinctive group are the chairs influenced by Shaker furniture made in the United States from the late 18th century onwards. This was simple but well-proportioned and well-made furniture with styles and forms taken with them by members of the religious group when they emigrated from England to America to establish independent communities leading a simple and devout life.

One type of chair made in the 1820s in the Shaker settlement at New Lebanon had turned legs and spindles and a high back of the type usually called a ladder back although the cross pieces of the back rest tended to be thin but flat, curved and shaped pieces of flat wood rather than spindles or rungs. 

 

a Shaker rocking chair in the collection of Designmuseum Danmark

an English ladder-back chair with rush seat that was made in north Gloucestershire or Worcestershire about 1800 that shows clearly that the origin of the Shaker chair was an English type

 

 

Decoration was kept to a minimum and was usually restricted to what could be done with turning so with knops or rings on the turned legs. Most cross rails and stretchers between the legs were turned and seats were often woven from ribbon width lengths of natural coloured textile … cotton or linen webbing.

There was an example of a Shaker rocking chair in the collection of the design museum and this appears to have been an inspiration for the church chairs designed by Kaare Klint in the 1920s for both the Grundtvigskirchen and for the Bethlehem Church in Copenhagen.


Church Chair by Kaare Klint in the collection of Designmuseum Danmark ... the chairs in the nave of Grundtvigskirchen in Copenhagen

the chairs in the nave of Grundtvigskirchen in Copenhagen

 

Side Chair 1936

Several versions of the chair were produced. The Church chair above has a book holder across the back … a wide shallow box in thin wood where the person sitting in the row of chairs behind could place bibles and prayer books … and there are extra spindles across the space under the seat to hold a hat during the service. 

A version with arms was made by Bernstorffsminde Møbelfabrik from 1939 onwards. 

In the church, the chairs can be linked together with a long pole slotted through leather loops behind the front legs.

 

designed by Kaare Klint (1888-1954)

made by Fritz Hansen Eftf and
Bernstorffsminde Møbelfabrik A/S

oak or beech

height: 81cm
width: 45cm
depth: 40cm
height of seat: 44cm