The carved man leaning on the back of this wooden chair must have bumped into the head of anyone sitting in the chair. But in spite of the chairís discomfort, the unique humorous design attracted a buyer who paid $885 for the chair at a Showtime auction in Ann Arbor, Mich. Photo: Contributed Photo / CT
“Fantasy furniture” is a term used to describe tables and chairs that don’t fit the rules of any recognized style. Chairs made of cow horns or parts of spinning wheels, and tables held up by carved bears or shaped like large hands are “fantasies.”
A famous and expensive dining room table has legs that are full-size carvings of either a man or woman hunched over to hold the tabletop on their backs.
An inexpensive fantasy design for a chair made about 1900 is called North Wind. It looks like a typical oak side chair with a solid seat and sometimes turned legs. But the back is made with a carved man’s or woman’s face, sometimes with flowing hair. More ambitious designs have the full figure of a person climbing on top of the chair back. The best of the North Wind chairs have a one-piece back made of solid wood. The carving was not an added piece of wood.
Inexpensive chairs influenced by the North Wind group were pressed-back chairs showing a face or a person. The design was not a raised carving, but was pressed into the wood by a machine.
A humorous fantasy chair, its back carved to look like a beer keg with a pensive man leaning on the top, recently sold. The chair, 40 1/2 inches high, was made in the early 1900s and sold for $885 at a Showtime auction in Ann Arbor, Mich.