A Victorian recumbent armchair designed to ease the life of the ailing is on offer from Retrovation of St Albans for £795. Made of brass and mahogany, it can be adjusted from upright to fully reclined. Its many configurations are shown and modelled on the Retrovation website.
The Science Museum has another example of the chair, which is attributed to John Ward. He is listed in Grace’s Guide as a maker of “invalid carriages and bath chairs”. Based in Leicester Square in the late 19th century, Ward took part in the Great Exhibition of 1851 showing chairs that were “spring stuffed and covered with Utrecht velvet”.
The example at the Science Museum is dated to c.1880-1900. Ward continued trading until 1903.
Retrovation’s example has signs of wear and lacks the pegs that would hold the extended leg rest in position. However, the firm emphasises its importance as an example of Victorian innovation as well as its decorative potential.