Mendlesham Chairs were originally designed two centuries ago in Suffolk, England. Throughout its long history the refined proportions have made them extremely desirable. They are often presented as unique gifts for a special birthday, notable anniversary or at a wedding. Many take their place as cherished family heirlooms passed from one generation to another. Collections of Mendlesham Chairs are held both by families and by museums including the Victoria and Albert, London.
It takes about 50 hours for a craftsman to make each chair, which is French polished by hand to give a smooth feel and deep lustre. The style embodies two traditions: the first an interpretation of classical design and the other, which reflects the Windsor chair maker's skills.
Treeincarnated is proud to have been directly involved in maintaining the integrity of this elegant chair design and looks forward to continuing to do the same in the years that lie ahead.
There are no short cuts to making a Mendlesham chair. Unlike other Windsors, Mendlesham chairs involve many mortise and tenon joints all with angled shoulders and the arm posts are jointed to the seat using a diminished dovetail housing. Originals were made using fruitwoods for the frame and Elm for the seat. We continue this tradition by using cherry, apple, pear and walnut. We always use complete width boards for the seat and search the country for boards with character and 'burr'.
The fine spindles, fine section frame with boxwood inlay, scratch moulded bead edges, minute beads on the turned legs, three bobbins near the top of the chair back and the small bow to support your back, are all distinctive of these chairs. These features combine to make a chair both light in weight and light in appearance.
A welcoming fit
Of all Windsor chair designs, a well-made Mendlesham must surely be among the most comfortable of all. Its deeply saddled seat, gently hollowed and unusually raked back, and arms shaped to hug and support, all combine to achieve successfully what today's foam and rubber straps attempt. With our made to measure service we work until we achieve the fit required by each customer.
Unique to you
Mendleshams have their own built in character - the fretted back splat design incorporates two hearts pierced with an arrow, making them ideal Wedding or Anniversary gifts, as well as the chairs being used to commemorate other special lifetime events, Christmas or Birthday. The chairs we make are all discreetly numbered and have the craftsman's autograph plus the chair's date of origin carved in code. Two ears of barley, indicative of the fields that surround our workshop, have their grains arranged to give the year, and their leaves tell the month.
In addition we offer a number of options to personalise your chair. We can set in a medallion of turned sycamore bearing a design or message of your choice. Also we can hand carve, to the highest standard, initials, names and messages. Possibly the most special personalisation is achieved by a carved picture of your choice under the seat, your fondest animal, flower, yacht or coat of arms or perhaps a symbol depicting your career, profession or hobby.
A style to suit you
Mendlesham chair styles available include the standard traditional design, a side chair, highback Mendlesham, rocker and child's chairs.
The Chairs we make provide a fine example of 21st century craftsmanship. Genuinely old examples command a value sometimes three times our prices. We feel sure these present day examples will appreciate in value as well as being a delight for the present.
Chairs are made in small batches taking 3-6 months to process from time of order. At times we may have one or two chairs in stock but most are made to order. If you require a chair or a complete set of chairs for a special occasion or event please allow as much time as possible.