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CHAISE—CHALCEDON, COUNCIL OF

sometimes closed with a key. That we are still said to sit “in” an arm-chair and “on” other kinds of chairs is a reminiscence of the time when the lord or seigneur sat “in his chair.” These throne-like seats were always architectural in character, and as Gothic feeling waned took the distinctive characteristics of Renaissance work. It was owing in great measure to the Renaissance that the chair ceased to be an appanage of state, and became the customary companion of whomsoever could afford to buy it. Once the idea of privilege faded the chair speedily came into general use, and almost at once began to reflect the fashions of the hour. No piece of furniture has ever been so close an index to sumptuary changes. It has varied in size, shape and sturdiness with the fashion not only of women’s dress but of men’s also. Thus the chair which was not, even with its arms purposely suppressed, too ample during the several reigns of some form or other of hoops and farthingale, became monstrous when these protuberances disappeared. Again, the costly laced coats of the dandy of the 18th and early 19th centuries were so threatened by the ordinary form of seat that a “conversation chair” was devised, which enabled the buck and the ruffler to sit with his face to the back, his valuable tails hanging unimpeded over the front. The early chair almost invariably had arms, and it was not until towards the close of the 16th century that the smaller form grew common.

The majority of the chairs of all countries until the middle of the 17th century were of oak without upholstery, and when it became customary to cushion them, leather was sometimes employed; subsequently velvet and silk were extensively used, and at a later period cheaper and often more durable materials. Leather was not infrequently used even for the costly and elaborate chairs of the faldstool form—occasionally sheathed in thin plates of silver—which Venice sent all over Europe. To this day, indeed, leather is one of the most frequently employed materials for chair covering. The outstanding characteristic of most chairs until the middle of the 17th century was massiveness and solidity. Being usually made of oak, they were of considerable weight, and it was not until the introduction of the handsome Louis XIII. chairs with cane backs and seats that either weight or solidity was reduced. Although English furniture derives so extensively from foreign and especially French and Italian models, the earlier forms of English chairs owed but little to exotic influences. This was especially the case down to the end of the Tudor period, after which France began to set her mark upon the British chair. The squat variety, with heavy and sombre back, carved like a piece of panelling, gave place to a taller, more slender, and more elegant form, in which the framework only was carved, and attempts were made at ornament in new directions. The stretcher especially offered opportunities which were not lost upon the cabinet-makers of the Restoration. From a mere uncompromising cross-bar intended to strengthen the construction it blossomed, almost suddenly, into an elaborate scroll-work or an exceedingly graceful semicircular ornament connecting all four legs, with a vase-shaped knob in the centre. The arms and legs of chairs of this period were scrolled, the splats of the back often showing a rich arrangement of spirals and scrolls. This most decorative of all types appears to have been popularized in England by the cavaliers who had been in exile with Charles II. and had become familiar with it in the north-western parts of the European continent. During he reign of William and Mary these charming forms degenerated into something much stiffer and more rectangular, with a solid, more or less fiddle-shaped splat and a cabriole leg with pad feet. The more ornamental examples had cane seats and ill-proportioned cane backs. From these forms was gradually developed the Chippendale chair, with its elaborately interlaced back, its graceful arms and square or cabriole legs, the latter terminating in the claw and ball or the pad foot. Hepplewhite, Sheraton and Adam all aimed at lightening the chair, which, even in the master hands of Chippendale, remained comparatively heavy. The endeavour succeeded, and the modern chair is everywhere comparatively slight. Chippendale and Hepplewhite between them determined what appears to be the final form of the chair, for since their time practically no new type has lasted, and in its main characteristics the chair of the 20th century is the direct derivative of that of the later 18th.

The 18th century was, indeed, the golden age of the chair, especially in France and England, between which there was considerable give and take of ideas. Even Diderot could not refrain from writing of them in his Encyclopédie. The typical Louis Seize chair, oval-backed and ample of seat, with descending arms and round-reeded legs, covered in Beauvais or some such gay tapestry woven with Boucher or Watteau-like scenes, is a very gracious object, in which the period reached its high-water mark. The Empire brought in squat and squabby shapes, comfortable enough no doubt, but entirely destitute of inspiration. English Empire chairs were often heavier and more sombre than those of French design. Thenceforward the chair in all countries ceased to attract the artist. The art nouveau school has occasionally produced something of not unpleasing simplicity; but more often its efforts have been frankly ugly or even grotesque. There have been practically no novelties, with the exception perhaps of the basket-chair and such like, which have been made possible by modern command over material. So much, indeed, is the present indebted to the past in this matter that even the revolving chair, now so familiar in offices, has a pedigree of something like four centuries (see also Sedan-chair).  (J. P.-B.) 


CHAISE (the French for “chair,” through a transference from a “sedan-chair” to a wheeled vehicle), a light two- or four-wheeled carriage with a movable hood or “calash”; the “post-chaise” was the fast-travelling carriage of the 18th and early 19th centuries. It was closed and four-wheeled for two or four horses and with the driver riding postillion.


CHAKRATA, a mountain cantonment in the Dehra Dun district of the United Provinces of India, on the range of hills overlooking the valleys of the Jumna and the Tons, at an elevation of 7000 ft. It was founded in 1866 and first occupied in April 1869.


CHALCEDON, more correctly Calchedon (mod. Kadikeui), an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari. It was a Megarian colony founded on a site so obviously inferior to that which was within view on the opposite shore, that it received from the oracle the name of “the City of the Blind.” In its early history it shared the fortunes of Byzantium, was taken by the satrap Otanes, vacillated long between the Lacedaemonian and the Athenian interests, and was at last bequeathed to the Romans by Attalus III. of Pergamum (133 B.C.). It was partly destroyed by Mithradates, but recovered during the Empire, and in A.D. 451 was the seat of the Fourth General Council. It fell under the repeated attacks of the barbarian hordes who crossed over after having ravaged Byzantium, and furnished an encampment to the Persians under Chosroes, c. 616–626. The Turks used it as a quarry for building materials for Constantinople. The site is now occupied by the village of Kadikeui (“Village of the Judge”), which forms the tenth “cercle” of the municipality of Constantinople. Pop. about 33,000, of whom 8000 are Moslems. There is a large British colony with a church, and also Greek and Armenian churches and schools, and a training college for Roman Catholic Armenians. To the S. are the ruins of Panteichion (mod. Pendik), where Belisarius is said to have lived in retirement.

See J. von Hammer, Constantinopolis (Pesth, 1822); Murray’s Handbook for Constantinople (London, 1900).


CHALCEDON, COUNCIL OF, the fourth ecumenical council of the Catholic Church, was held in 451, its occasion being the Eutychian heresy and the notorious “Robber Synod” (see Eutyches and Ephesus, Council of), which called forth vigorous protests both in the East and in the West, and a loud demand for a new general council, a demand that was ignored by the Eutychian Theodosius II., but speedily granted by his successor, Marcian, a “Flavianist.” In response to the imperial summons, five to six hundred bishops, all Eastern, except the Roman legates and two Africans, assembled in Chalcedon on the