January 21, 2011

It was not until the sixteenth century that the chair came into popular use. Previously, chairs were reserved for kings and ecclesiastical potentates, and thus were regarded as symbols of authority.  As an emblem of the state, the chair served a symbolic, as well as a utilitarian, purpose for thousands of years. This is manifest today in the manner in which we use the word chair. When the leader of an assembly announces “the chair recognizes -------------,” he is obviously not referring to a piece of furniture, but rather to the authority invested in him – symbolized by his chair. –ChairsHart Publishing Company, Inc. 1977


Check out the chairs in the room used by Danville City Council for its meetings.

This winter the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History ventures into its extensive collection of chairs, sofas, benches and ottomans to showcase “seating devices” from the most humble bench to much more ornate and upholstered symbols of wealth and power.

Among the chairs (and sofa) included in the exhibition are a bench with carved griffins (19th c. Windsor Revival American), a circa 1600 intricately carved Flemish style chair, an ottoman with needlepoint, and a late 19th c. Italian gondolier’s chair. Also of interest are several Victorian pieces and slat back chairs with rush bottoms.

While many of the chairs are from the Kennedy-Revell Collection associated with Danville’s Stratford College and Dean Mabel Kennedy, others are gifts to the Museum by Danville and regional collectors.  Many are being shared with the community for the first time.

All opening receptions at the Museum are open and free to the public.

All exhibits are sponsored in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Foundation for the Arts.