Turned work

Turning is a process by which parts of furniture, such as legs and posts, are shaped while turning on a lathe. Turned work is found on Greco-Roman furniture. It is not certain whether the technique was actually employed in Egyptian furniture, though some members look as though they might have been turned. It was particularly in the shaping of wooden chair legs that Greek joiners used the lathe; the same sharp edges and deep moulding seem to be repeated in the legs of bronze furniture. It is possibly ancient turned work traditions upheld in Byzantium that are reflected in certain chairs of medieval form found, for example, in Norway; made of pinewood, the construction consists principally of turned staves (thin bars), some with appendant loose rings, some of them fluted (grooved). Similar turned chairs were made in Wales in the 16th century. In the 17th century, turned work was concentrated on pillars for cupboards and on ball feet but is also seen on chair and table legs, on which rich variations involving twisted and intertwining forms occur. Turned work in ivory also flourished in the 17th century. Except for the Windsor chair, or stick-back, however, the craft of the turner played no significant role in English high style furniture of the 18th century; it is similarly alien to French Rococo furniture.

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