A watchman's chair is a design of unupholstered wood construction featuring a forward slanted seat, such that the watchman could not readily fall asleep without sliding downward and off the front of the chair. The design was developed in Western Europe, and was used from late medieval times well into the 19th century. Currently this antique furniture item is found primarily in the possession of collectors and museums.
There are a number of references to the watchman's chair in literature such as the allusion to its use in Collins's Jezebel. Sir Toby was described to be sitting in a canopied watchman's chair in one of Shakespeare's plays.
Alternative use of the term
This article is not about the "watchman's chair" deriving from the Congo, which has a traditional African design.
- Jezebel by Wilkie Collins
- The Shakespeare Season at The Old Vic, 1957-58 and Stratford-upon-Avon, 1958, M. St. Clare Byrne, Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Autumn, 1958), pp. 507-530
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