Jamaican Colonial Planters Chairs

An exceptionally fine Early 19th Century Jamaican Colonial Planter’s Chair. Jamaican Mahogany, inlaid with Rosewood, and Leather. c.1830. Private Collection.

This style of Chair was first made in the City of Campeche in the Yucatan Province of Mexico in the 16th Century during the Spanish Colonial era and were originally known as Campeche Chairs. They became very popular with the Spanish Creole Aristocracy in Mexico and were often found amongst the Mexican Colonial antique furniture on the old Haciendas, where they were also knows as Butaca Chairs. In the 18th Century Spanish Colonists introduced the Campeche Chair also known as the Butaca Chair to Louisiana where they became extremely popular amongst the French Creole Aristocracy who called them Boutac Chairs and introduced them into their Plantation Houses in the Bayous and along the Mississippi River. The Leather-Seated Chars, made from Ox-Hide or Mule-Hide stretched on a Mahogany wood frame, was found ideal for lounging in a Tropical Climate and unlike upholstered furniture it was free from insects. These Campeche Chairs in Louisiana were discovered by the Americans during the Late 18th Century and President Thomas Jefferson even ordered a pair for his Plantation at Monticello in Virginia. This style of Chair was also introduced to Jamaica from Mexico during the 18th Century, probably via Cuba, and until very recently they were known in Jamaica as Spanish Chairs. It was only during the 1970s that people first began calling them Planters Chairs, because they had always been popular with British Planters on the Plantations in Jamaica. Once only found in the old Plantation Great Houses in Jamaica, today they are extremely rare and very sought after by both Dealers and Collectors.