Design Classic: The Nelson Chair

Designer: David Linley, 2005

Details: Nelson armchair, £3,450, Linley

The phrase ‘fit for a king’ takes on a rather literal meaning with master furniture brand Linley’s regal Nelson chair – or it would, were the expression actually ‘fit for an admiral’.

Designed by one of the UK’s leading exponents of traditional craft techniques, the hand-stitched leather armchair mimics the exact style of seatingVice-Admiral Horatio Nelson used aboard his flagship HMS Victory.

Reportedly Nelson’s favourite chair, Linley’s replica, launched in 2005 to celebrate the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar (where Nelson famously lost his life even as his naval forces were defeating the combined fleets of France and Spain), joins the likes of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square in honouring the Admiral’s service to his country.

A grandson of Queen Elizabeth's, David Linley trained as a cabinetmaker. When conceiving pieces for his furniture and accessories lines, he often refers to historic precedents. Following this tradition, Linley collaborated with the National Maritime Museum in 2005 to create an exact replica of the last chair on which Admiral Nelson ever sat, exactly 200 years after Nelson's death in 1805.

When Nelson died, his elder brother William became Lord Nelson and inherited the estate of Standlych in Salisbury, renamed Trafalgar House. The estate's collection contained the chair which, according William Nelson, was the last chair on which the Admiral ever sat. A careful study of this original chair was made to create the Linley Nelson chair that mimics the exact dimensions and design of the original chair last sat on by Lord Nelson.

Available in black or tan leather, the beech-framed chair is hand stitched and features fine brass studwork, andcontinues the Admiral’s legacy, moving from stormy seas to contemporary townhouses and chic apartments.

Photography: Simon Bevan

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