Little information has been passed down through the industry or indeed written about the history or origin of ‘Merry Widow’ settees or lounge furniture. We can only assume it is historically linked to the Austro-Hungarian opera the ‘Merry Widow’ which had its debut in 1906 and was marathon performing during the period. This would co-inside with the start of the art-deco period which a merry widow could feel indulged on such an opulent sofa.
A merry widow settee and two chairs were brought to us by a farming family from the south-west. The furniture belonged to her grandparents and she believed was made in the 1930’s and had already been re-upholstered twice and modified. Our job was to bring it back to its glorious by-gone past, a very labour intensive task.
We removed the layers of fabric stripping the suite down to the bare timber frame. The turned legs were discarded which were an addition during an 80’s revamp then the frame joints knocked apart and glued with a two pack resin then screwed. The rear legs, front blocks and timber trays were sanded then stained as the Jarrah had bleached and finished with three coats of lacquer.
The re-upholstery commenced with fitting jute webbing and lacing coil springs into the seat, back and arms, then fabricated the sprung edge, and tied down the springs then applied hessian overlays. We then fitted synthetic edging to the sprung edge, top inside back and arms and laminated premium foam layers overlayed with bonded polyester fibre. The upholstery fabric selected suited the period being a very high quality black abstract floral velvet which looked extremely sumptuous. The outside arms and backs were also lined and padded and finished with piped trim.
Our clients were breath taken with the result as they had seen the previous re-upholstery when teenagers but this was far superior in every detail and designed to last for another lifetime.