Manufactured by R. W. Winfield, Birmingham
1840 - 1850
Iron, japanned and gilt
Museum no. CIRC.20-1961
The cast-iron rocking chair is a reflection of the Crystal Palace in which the Great Exhibition was held. Made of the same structural material, it too is of a practical, thoughtful design, without excess decoration. It mirrors the functional quality of the building in which it was seen and demonstrates nineteenth-century mastery of this material. This chair is a domestic example of the technical achievements of the Victorians. It also represents a particularly Victorian desire for conspicuous modernity, without sacrificing an equal devotion to comfort. Upholstered chairs with coil springs were being developed at this time, but the slung hammock effect of this chair would have been a comfortable alternative.