The Famous Fiddle Back chair

The fiddleback chair has a very classic style. These chairs are made for the dining area of the home, and the styling is typical of country kitchen style, in lighter woods such as ash.

What gives the fiddleback its distinctive look is the slat in the middle at the back of the chair which has an outline of a fiddle shape.

This is typically British and the style has been used in many different formats, making it an ideal choice for those wishing for occasional chairs or a dining suite with a carver chair for each end of a table.

So how are Fiddleback Chairs styled?

The seat of the fiddle back is neatly sculpted for comfort. The wood used for the seat of a fiddle back is relatively thick, as this has to take the joints which hold the back in place and also have sufficient strength to give support to the legs.


The style of the chair has spindles used next to the fiddle cut out and these are typically turned items, though not elaborate. The simplicity of the style is the main attraction, as the chairs were used in country kitchens and did not need elaborate turning or carving detail.

The spindles at the outer edge of the back are more elaborate and heavier in build than the spindles next to them. These are curved with the angle of the back and solidify the placement of the back. Usually the spindles at each side of the back are anchored into the seat and go all the way through.


The legs on a fiddle back chair are splayed outward. This gives better support for the chair and makes it less likely to topple. These legs are joined to the seat through holes which are joined to keep the seat secured. Many factory made fiddle back chairs these days are merely glued into place depending upon the use to solidify that fixing on the cross section of the wood used. The legs are also jointed into a cross piece which in turn is fixed centrally to a central spindle. Legs and spindles are turned with simple turning methods.

Woods used for these chairs

The chairs are typically styled in oak, beech and ash. These woods are chosen for their strength and the ability to withstand heavy use.

Alternate styling

The fiddleback also comes in adapted styles such as carvers, where arms are available. These would have been used at the head of the table. What differs with this style is that it typically has spindles which hold the armrest to the seat of the chair and the armrest is shaped in a rounded shape that holds the arms comfortably. The twist in shape where the hands are placed is traditional styling.

History of the Fiddleback Chair

It is easy to see where the origins lie for the fiddleback chair. In the Queen Anne and early Georgian era which fell in the early part of the 18th century, fiddles were introduced to dining style chairs, though these were for more formal dining and it would appear that the recent fiddleback chairs use the same styling of a central fiddle, though have simplified both the construction and presentation, without traditional slats shown on earlier versions.

Modern variations

The style has been adapted for the modern Dutch dining area although the Dutch version of the chair is much more in keeping with balloon backed chairs and is more formal in style. With the Dutch styling, the back is no longer displayed with spindles but has a rounded framework with a central fiddle shaped section leading down to the seat.

The style no longer has the farmhouse feel which was originally intended, but sports supports on a base which is made to receive fabrics. Elaborate carving also features on the back of the chair, which is uncharacteristic of the British counterpart version which prefers less formality.

The future of the fiddleback chair

With the styling being in style for country kitchens and featured in magazine such as Country Homes, it’s likely that this classic styling will stay in vogue. It’s a comfortable chair built to give support to the back area in a very natural seating position. The height of the chairs is ideal to all sizes of users, and the ability to move the legs while using one of these chairs also makes it a classic favorite from a comfort point of view.

The future is a rosy one since this style is very popular indeed. The colors used for the modern day fiddle backs is light enough to blend with the ever popular honey pine colors that country kitchens use. The chairs can also be bought from many shops individually, making them the choice for a bedroom chair or occasional chair because of their attractive design which is aesthetically pleasing and not at all overpowering. Thus the future of the fiddleback is assured.

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