The chaise lounge is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. It connotes sophistication, leisure, and a hint of exoticism. The origins of the chaise reach back to ancient Egyptian times, where they were in common use by the 1st Dynasty (aka 3100 - 2890 BC, a really f-ing long time ago).
Cleopatra and Marc Antony depicted as committing their historic double suicide upon a chaise
The Death of Cleopatra by Reginald Arthur, 1892
Chaise lounge also played a big role at the ancient Greek banquet, or symposium, allowing diners to lounge during hours-long drinking and dining sprees. (When did this custom end and can we bring it back?) Ancient Greece is one of my biggest aesthetic influences, so I love that they used chaise lounges.
"Alcibiades Interrupting Banquet Agathon"--
doesn't really feature the chaise, but it's pretty and you get the idea
The popularity of the chaise also extended to the Far East. In ancient China, chaise lounges were standard in family homes. When the British began trading and smuggling opium from China in 1773, chaises skyrocketed in popularity as "opium beds", where users of the narcotic would lounge and relax.
Late 18th century photograph of opium bed:
in the words of Dr. Dre, it's that puff puff pass ish, puff pillows no mattress
Here are some of my favorite modern adaptions of this ancient piece, collected mostly via Pinterest:
Photo: La Dolce Vita
Photo: Candace Bushnell's Manhattan apartment by Elle Decor
Photo: Style by Emily Henderson
Additional sources: Design Boom, Louvre Museum Official Website, Wikipedia (don't tell my college professors!)
Don't you love to learn the history of your favorite things? Okay maybe only nerds who were History majors like me do, but hopefully you've enjoyed the gorgeous images! What are your favorite pieces of furniture?