Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Horn Chairs

I’m always amazed at the number of chairs MoDiP has in the collection. We are lucky enough to have some iconic designs including two of my favourites: the Panton chair, the first single-piece plastic chair to go into mass production in 1967; and the E Series chair, which instantly brings back memories of being at school. The Hembury chair is the only one in the collection to include any animal parts, through wool being used as the reinforcing ingredient within a resin base. Our guest blogger this week has written about horn chairs, something we don’t currently have represented within the Worshipful Company of Horners collection.

Katherine Pell, Collections Officer 

Surely the largest hornware artefacts you will see are the horn chairs? They are not only dependent on a ready supply of long horns, but on a ready supply of pairs of long horns.  Most of these items, unsurprisingly, come from Texas and the Western States.

Quite by accident I found a small collection of these unusual horn craft artefacts, seldom to be found outside the US, whilst visiting Parc Grace Dieu farm near Monmouth. My intention was to photograph their White Park cattle and I took along my postcard collection for reference. Anna, who met me, was very interested by these pictures and immediately latched onto one depicting a chair made from cow’s horns, taken in the Morse Museum, Warren, New Hampshire.

Image ref: Postcard of a horn chair from the Morse Museum
Image credit: Rebecca Davies

As it turned out, they have a few of these chairs at Parc Grace Dieu, and Anna was delighted to show me them. Their main chair came from Stockyard City, Oklahoma.

Image ref: Horn chair
Image credit: Rebecca Davies

This smaller chair was made by Abbey Horn

Image ref: Abbey Horn chair
Image credit: Rebecca Davies

Notice the back of this chair; it is designed so that pairs are not needed.

Image ref: Abbey Horn chair back
Image credit: Rebecca Davies

And they have a pair of chairs from Africa, possibly East Africa, where the Ankole cattle come from.

Image ref: African horn chair
Image credit: Rebecca Davies

All in all, a very interesting collection. I think I am going to save up and find myself a Horn chair of my very own. These artefacts are not actually that rare, you can find examples through online auction sites, but they are not cheap either.

Rebecca Davies


Abbey Horn -

Alan Rogers Texas Longhorn Museum -

Parc Grace Dieu Farm -

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