Recently, an Auburn University student visited the Callaway home to identify specific period furniture as a class project. She was exuberant to find so many examples under one roof and decided to focus on chairs. “I can’t believe all these wonderful chairs are here,” Sarah commented. She made careful note of the two standing at the main staircase which were purchased for the home in 1916. She declared these dark walnut stained Flemish-Italian side chairs with heavily carved crested backs, spiraled legs and leather seats her favorites.
An elegant pair of Chippendale-style chairs with wonderful scrolled feet in the living room also caught her eye. These were added to the home by the junior Callaways and are identical with one exception; one of the chairs is taller and deeper than the other. Since they were custom made, this may imply they were intended to be ‘his and her’ chairs.
In the library she discovered the “Gaming” or Voyeuse chair, which receives more comments and questions than any other in the house. This circa 18th century chair is in the Queen Anne style with a padded top. A gentleman would sit astraddle the chair facing backward, leaning his arms on the back as he sat at a game table or smoked.
Another set commanding attention was the Dante or Savonarola folding chairs which are accented with a carved laughing face and lion’s head. The seat and back of each are rich brown leather. Nearby she noticed a pair of oversized French Louis XV “King’s chairs” with cabriole legs and gold wash wood arms. Even more striking was the red, orange and gold patterned upholstery.
There are indeed numerous other unique examples in the Callaway home. According to Suellen Dolan, Tour Coordinator,
The house furnishings are eclectic and the chairs are no exception. We have them representing a wide variety of different historical periods and styles, from modern club chairs all the way back to renaissance styled chairs.