When John Kassay published The Book of Shaker Furniture in 1980, it was universally praised for its exquisitely rendered and finely detailed drawings of Shaker furniture. In the intervening years, Kassay has turned his attention to Windsor furniture and has now produced an elegant and informative guide to the Windsor style.
Combining comfort, simplicity, and craftsmanship, Windsor chairs have long been prized by collectors. Introduced from England in the early 1700s, the Windsor style took hold in America first as seating for the well-to-do and later as the favorite chair of the general population. Included in the Windsor family are stools, tables, settees, high chairs, cradles, and candle stands, but the greatest variety is found in the chairs, which range from comb-back to bow-back to step-down versions. Their makers took advantage of the natural properties of different woods for particular components of the chairs, employing hickory, red oak, or ash for bent parts, maple for turnings, and pine for seats.
Kassay meticulously documents all of these features and styles with drawings so accurate and precise that amateur furniture makers can use them as blueprints for creating Windsor reproductions. The drawings are complemented by narrative descriptions, photographs, and a list of measured parts for each of the pieces under discussion.