Here’s an unusual project: In 1968 Jimi Hendrix and his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham moved into a flat in 23 Brook St, London, a home he later described as “the only home I ever had”. No 25, next door had been home to the composer George Frideric Handel, who lived there from 1723 until his death in 1759. No 23 has served as the offices of the Handel House Museum, but it is now being give its due credit and being restored to its 1968 state in a permanent Hendrix exhibition. Details of the flat as it was have been pieced together through photographs taken at the time, including (wait for it, Windsor chair fans everywhere…) Jimi himself sitting in a variant of a ‘Smoker’s Bow’ Windsor chair!
The term ‘Windsor chair’ is usually applied to any chair with a solid, usually shaped, wooden seat which forms the central connecting element for all the other components, the legs, back and so on all being jointed into it. As makers of numerous of Windsor, we had the good fortune to be contacted about the 23 Brook Street Project. The photos we received detailing the chair were almost perversely entertaining: although they were clearly promo shots of Hendrix, for understandable reasons of picture copyright they had been cropped to exclude almost all detail except the rather obscured chair on which he is sitting. Apart from a ringed and languid guitarist’s hand here and a fragment of flowery shirt there, it was as if the shots had been taken, not by a music fan but by a furniture obsessive. An understandable perspective from our point of view.
The chair itself is a rather ornate version of the standard smoker’s bow, having cabriole legs at the front, and spade-footed sabre legs at the back, united with a crinoline stretcher, rather than the simpler turned legs and H-underframe. Also, in place of turned spindles linking arm bow to seat, it has shaped laths and muscular front stumps dovetailed into the seat board. Another difference with our standard version is that, fine chair as it is, ours does not have Jimi Hendrix sitting on it.