Hooded Orkney Chair




The Orkney chair is as iconic as it is practical.  It’s characteristic high back and a low seat were designed to keep the drafts away and the inhabitant as close to the warmth of the fire as possible.  For centuries, these chairs were made on the island, for the island, and in the absence of a great deal of wood, were made from a small amount of driftwood and large quantities of the abundant oat straw.

In the late C19th, local carpenter David Munro Kirkness standardised the many idiosyncratic local examples into the recognisable vernacular chair we know today.  A keen businessman, he shipped examples of his chair to the port of Leith, where they were seen by buyers from Liberty of London, which led to a lucrative deal to distribute them world-wide.  After the death of Kirkness in 1936, the chair making was taken over by fellow Orkney resident, Reynold Eunson in 1956, who continued the tradition until 1978. He kept the Kirkness name and added his own name/stamp of RE with a thistle between.

This fine example proudly bares Eunson’s maker’s mark and we believe it was made in the 1960’s or 70’s.  It is a traditional oak-framed construction, with a woven straw canopy back and a drop-in rush seat. A similar example of this can be seen in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

We currently have two in this style, please contact for more details.

Height 141cm, depth 54cm. 64cm at the widest part of the hood, 40cm seat height.

Please contact us directly to discuss shipping this item internationally.

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