Furniture | The Reconnoisseur

In search of a classic 1950s chair

The chair that’s cherished by design aficionados

In search of a classic 1950s chair

April 11 2010
Mark C O’Flaherty

While researching a feature on contemporary wooden furniture last year, I found myself immersed in, and obsessed by, the Ercol archives. The family-run Ercol furniture company continues to make furniture that is favoured by middle England, but it’s the Ercol pieces from the 1950s that are cherished by mid-century design aficionados.

What caught my eye during my researches were some images of the striking, classic, Ercol 376 candlestick chair, designed in 1956; I desperately wanted a set to go around a Saarinen dining table that I own from the same year. Although Ercol still makes a range of Ercol Originals – reissues of 1950s-designed pieces – I was disappointed to find that the 376 chair was not among them.

But then I came across a specialist firm in Kent, Ercol Collectors, which tracked down some 376 candlestick chairs and restored them for me for £125 apiece. I subsequently found that Ercol Collectors are the best resource in the country to track down the 376 chair, or indeed any Ercol rarities. They also repair and restore anything by Ercol that you might already have.

I was so thrilled with my chairs that I sent a picture of them, in situ, to Edward Tadros, nephew of Ercol founder Lucian Ercolani and current head of the company. Shortly afterwards I saw Tadros at a design show in London’s Brick Lane, on the Ercol stand, with a set of freshly-made 376 chairs, which had been produced as prototypes for the exhibition. “I was so inspired by the chairs you found,” he said, “I’m thinking about reissuing them.”

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