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Argyl Chair (Charles Rennie Mackintosh)

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Mike Jordan

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Has anyone on here ever made a replica of this design? Looking at the commercially made items from the 1970s there appears to be some variations in design. I'm interested in details like the sizes of front and rear frames, amount of curve in that top rail etc.
 

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mrpercysnodgrass

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I have not had my hands on the Argyle chair but I have restored a pair of the willow tea rooms ladder back chairs. The seat and front legs will be pretty similar apart from the two stretchers on the Argyle chair. Looking at the drawing and the photo of the original I'm not sure this chair had a curve in the back! If you like I can give you some dimensions but you would be better off seeking out the original at The V&A and persuading them to let you have a look.
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O1128 ... es-rennie/
6885525cb587224ffbc0a1f6355bb575.jpg

2006AP8492_2500.jpg
 

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MikeG.

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Steve Maskery":2ubiny86 said:
No, but I'd love to...
Really? I know I'm supposed to think CRM's stuff is fantastic, but I just can't. I actively dislike it. As an architect, he couldn't find any work in his later years because no-one would commission him. He only had a handful of buildings built in his life, so I guess I'm not the only one seeing his work the way I do.
 

Steve Maskery

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Oh I think they are beautiful. Probably not very comfortable, I admit, but as an objet d'art, certainly.
My own dining chairs are a hybrid of CRM, Ercol and Malloof. I seen pictures of them only recently, but I can't seem to find them at the mo. If I do I shall post.
 

Mike Jordan

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Thanks to all of you.
Steve - It sounds as if you may have been holding the same thoughts as me.
Mr snodgrass - brilliant! a great help and marked up in feet and inches, I'd just got the hang of those when some fool changed the rules.
Mike- With regard to comfort, I think if designing for a tea room, the idea would be a striking appearance but no real incentive to sit around for long periods. Profits must rely on moving the customers along.
That little detail at the bottom of the back legs is interesting since it doesn't appear on all the pictures I have seen.
I admit that I am only interested in making one item in oak just for the hell of it! It won't fit in with my domestic furnishings and would attract criticism from management. ( the originals seem to have been in ash and black lacquer .
I have toyed with making one in Iroko as a garden chair but there is no chance of that standing up in the wind.
 

MikeG.

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Mike Jordan":vews0wis said:
....... I think if designing for a tea room..........
But it wasn't. The tea rooms had a different chair. It seems this chair might have been only used by CRM himself, and his patron.
 

Mike Jordan

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My dreams are shattered! I was convinced that it was the one used. I must admit that the other designs dont appear to have much chance of being comfortable.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Mrs Cranstons tea rooms had two floors, the dining floor had the Argyle chair and the lower floor had the ladder back chair, 103 of them! Here are the pair I worked on.
180223.jpg

I think they are beautiful and they have stood the test of time but you might be surprised at how shoddily they are made, although some of his pieces are first class, I think it depended on how much money he had as to who he commissioned, the ladder backs are made by Alex martin a boat builder!
The Ladder back is incredibly uncomfortable, it is like sitting in a correctional chair. I think there are two reasons for this, With CRM it was design over practicality and in the late victorian age ladies and gentlemen perched on chairs, they most certainly did not slump!
Mike, when you say 'the detail' on the back leg, do you mean the splay? if so that was to stop the chair from tipping backwards! Also FYI the diameter of the dowel stretcher is 5/8".
 

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AJB Temple

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Absolutely dreadful chairs. I friend of mine has a pair of "originals" (not quite sure what that means) and they are incredibly uncomfortable.

The functional point of a chair is to sit in or on. If it does not deliver on that score, it has failed the design brief.

They can look OK as a perpendicular room decoration in an Art Deco setting I suppose.
 

Steve Maskery

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The thing about furniture that looks good but is uncomfortable is that it can serve as a springboard for something new which takes the aesthetics of the original but marries them with the practicality of the more comfortable, but possibly more boring, counterpart.

Found some pictures













Edit - sorry, I had a carriage return in the wrong place. Fixed.
 

Mike Jordan

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On the subject of design over function, that was my reason for asking about the splay on the back legs. I have the thought that this was not part of the original design but added later for the reason suggested,to stop the chairs falling backwards to easily.
Another area of interest is the joint between the wide back splats and the elliptical top rail. Photos I have seen show the splats overlapping and screwed to the back of the ellipse, others seem to finish flush with the front of the ellipse. With what joint?
 

MikeG.

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Would not the vertical elements be continuous and the elliptical back piece be made in 3 pieces, with the little outer bits just dowelled on for the sake of appearance? So the "joints", as such, would be simple butt joints, dowelled. Obviously, I'm guessing.
 

Steve Maskery

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I have seen that chair at the Glasgow School of Art. IIRC the ellipse was fixed with wooden pins, trenails, which implies that the legs have a slot in them and the oval is in one piece.
 

Steve Maskery

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MikeG.":39zg0q6d said:
I'll have 5p with you Steve that they're fakes
That confident, eh, Mike? :)

Personally I don't think they would be fakes, as I think that that would be more work. The legs are not that thick up there, so you'd have to have two very short tenons into them. It would be easy to have a mortice in each and slot the oval in. It could be notched to avoid fettling the mortices.

If I were building that chair, it's how I would do it. Easier than making 3 pieces look like one and more robust, too.
 

Pete Maddex

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I would rather have a Frank LLoyd Wright high back chair.



Even thow it looks not very comfortable.

Pete
 

Steve Maskery

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I always thought that FLW furniture looked far too austere. But I went to New York and one of the museums there (I forget which but it backs on to Central Park) and they had a whole room set out with FLW stuff. Together it looked Ab Fab and I began to see the appeal.
 
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