By the 1930’s, chaise lounges evoked images of luxury and Hollywood glamour. Stars of that golden age of cinema, such as Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow, draped themselves across chaise lounges for photo shoots. But chaise lounges have humble beginnings. “Chaise lounge” is actually an Americanization of the French phrase “chaise longue” (pronounced shayz long), accurately describing exactly what it is – a long chair. Chaise lounge furniture first evolved in the 16th century, during a period when benches and stools were the norm, and chairs were reserved for authority figures.
The earliest chaise lounges were made of wood and caning. Early American chaise lounges, dating from the 1600s, were derivations of the daybed with many wooden legs. These modest pieces of furniture developed and changed throughout the years, eventually becoming a symbol of extravagance. Ornately designed chaise lounges, tasseled and cushioned, graced the parlors of many mansions in the 1800s.
Today, these pieces of furniture incorporate a wide variety of styles – French Renaissance to Art Deco, Victorian to Modernism – and a wide variety of materials – aluminum to wicker, silk to leather. It follows then that when you acquire an antique chaise lounge at a shop like Annie’s Gold, you also acquire the personal history of the piece. It comes to you representing the period and place of its origin, as well as the people who owned it and used it. An antique chaise lounge is beautiful and useful, full of character, and has a story to tell.