Welcome to Morris-Chairs.com – Everything you ever wanted to know about Morris Chairs!
Morris Chairs have been one of the most popular chair styles since originally conceived by the father of the “Arts and Crafts” Era, William . When one imagines oneself basking by the fire with a good book at home or in the office; more than likely you may envision yourself sitting in an Morris Chair.
It isn’t just a chair though. It’s a critical part of the “Arts and Crafts” movement both in Europe and American. As a part of furniture design history; this piece of furniture has maintained popularity for over the decades now going on strong into the third century. Hailed as the first reclining chair in history, the Morris Chair represents relaxation comfort, and tranquility in any design setting.
Where did this remarkable chair emerge from and come from and how long has it been around?
The Morris chair is the father of all reclining chairs. It was first produced in England by the William Morris Company around 1866. Morris’ chair was later copied by furniture makers like Gustav Stickley and, due to its Mission-style design, became a popular choice for homes during the Arts and Crafts Movement in the early 1900s. Morris chairs are still being manufactured today and because of their clean lines are at home in almost any décor.
The chair was widely copied after Morris’ introduction, and is still manufactured. The appearance and style of upholstery is usually quite different to Morris’, but the overall layout is constant.
The best known examples are those first produced by Gustav Stickley and then widely copied afterwards. These are in the American Craftsman idiom, rather than English Arts & Crafts styles. Woodwork is lightly finished and largely undecorated oak in rectangular sections. Upholstery comprises unframed cushions in brown leather, or green or brown fabric. As this style is by far the most common, the chair is often thought of as a Stickley design named in homage to Morris, rather than an original Morris piece. As with all Stickley, these chairs are keenly collected today and originals fetch several thousands of dollars. The recurrent mention of the Morris chair in popular song lyrics indicates its romantic and erotic use:
“At a party
Or at a ball
I’ve got to admit
He’s nothing at all
But in a Morris chair
You’d be surprised.”
Additionally, the Morris chair is mentioned in another Irving Berlin song, “All By Myself”, published in 1921, as well as in the song “My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms” (1922), by Joseph Meyer:
“A cozy Morris chair
Oh what a happy pair”,
or, as Barbra Streisand sang in her recording of the song:
“A cozy Morris chair
What kind of chair is a Morris chair?”.
It is mentioned also in the World War I patriotic song: “If he can fight like he can love, good night Germany” (words by Grant Clarke and Howard E. Rogers, Music by George W. Meyer)
“..I know he’ll be a Hero over there, ‘Cause he’s a bear in any Morris chair…”
The Morris chair appears in the song, “Oh, Sister! Ain’t That Hot!” verse 2:
“Now some folks like a Morris chair
“Some prefer a baby grand.
“But things like that cannot compare
“With that lovin’ hot lip band.”
On February 6, 1932 Jimmie Rodgers recorded “Home Call” in Dallas, Texas
“A big Morris chair waits for me there
“In front of a bright log fire
“My babe at my knee and my wife sings with me
“While I strum on my old guitar
“In fact we’re as happy, as happy can be
“In the evening just Carrie, Anita and me
The Morris chair appears in a song that anticipated the era of alcohol prohibition (1920-1933), “You Don’t Need the Wine To Have a Wonderful Time (While They Still Make Those Wonderful Girls) (Music by Harry Akst, lyric by Howard E. Rogers), published in 1919 and introduced by Eddie Cantor, in live performance, in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919 (recorded in “Ziegfeld follies of 1919,” 33 RPM vinyl disk, [Washington, D.C.] : Smithsonian Collection, published, 1977):
“Why should we care if the wine isn’t there?
“We still have the sofa and the old Morris chair.”
Bullwinkle J. Moose explains “… you sit happily in your Morris Chair …” in the “Mister Know-it All” segment of Rocky an Bullwinkle , Season 2 , episode 3 .
The original Morris chair design
Morris Chair History
We tend to overlook the advancements of design in mundane things like chairs. There are designers out there, perfecting these things we use every day to be the best possible experience in function and form! The Bauhaus movement of art for example, was dedicated to designing furniture that was functional, simple, and modern, and comparatively minimalist. (Example: Wassily or Cantilever) Although the movement was at its strongest around World War II times, it’s influence has been lasting. We see chairs like the Wassily and Cantilever in office environments ever day.
Let’s back up a bit. Before the Bauhaus art movement, there was the Craftsman Period about 100 years ago. This period of furniture design shifted people away from the ornate furniture styles of the Victorian era into styles in which functionality, form, and comfort took precedence. Simplified designs emerged for benches, tables, chairs, and beds that utilized quality woods. Because of the simplicity of the design, these pieces also became affordable and more commonplace. From this movement emerged the Morris Chair that has remained popular for over 100 years.
Morris Chairs Today
These days you see Morris Chairs at resorts, in cabins, and home throughout America and Europe. Not only can you get Morris Furniture in traditional woods like QS Oak, Cedar, Mahogany, pine, and teak but you can also get 100% recycled plastic Morris chairs. This earth friendly material is completely recycled and actually outperforms wood and also saves trees as well as promotes a positive, earth-conscious attitude. This super material is kid friendly in that it is strong and does not splinter. It will also never rot, mildew, or mold. You won’t ever have to paint it because the color is embedded in the chemical make-up.