The Secret History Of: Jacobsen Series 7 chair

There's no mistaking the voluptuous hourglass form of Arne Jacobsen's 1955 Model 3107 chair, better known as the Series 7. So the Danish designer must have seen it as a fitting tribute when the Swinging Sixties' most infamous set of curves straddled his creation for a nude photo shoot, sending sales through the roof, where they remain to this day.

The curves in question belonged to Christine Keeler of the Profumo affair scandal, which ultimately brought down the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan in 1963. The chair itself? Well, it turned out to be a copy, one of half a dozen picked up by the photographer Lewis Morley for five shillings each in a Heal's sale.

At the time of the shoot, the photographer, model and designer were already famous, Jacobsen for his Egg and Swan chairs, two curvaceous armchairs from 1956 that also remain popular. But it was this iconic image that propelled the Series 7 towards stardom in its own right. Despite the countless copys that continue to proliferate, five million of the genuine article have been sold. It has even popped up on EastEnders.

When placed next to a real Series 7, the photographed copy is shown up for what it really is. "The plywood is much thicker and less subtly moulded," explains Gareth Williams of the Victoria and Albert Museum's furniture, textiles and fashion department, to whom Morley donated the chair. "The cinched 'waist' is more pronounced, and the front of the seat is set back too far. Unlike Jacobsen's chair, this model has a cut-out handle at the top of the seat, but even this is inaccurately positioned and irregularly cut."

This is quite a special copy, though, given its underside bears the names of a number of famous personalities whose bottoms have graced its copycat frame – David Frost, Joe Orton, Barry Humphries.

Jacobsen's Series 7 chair – he died in 1971 aged 69 – was a paean to modern living: light, stackable and compact. It remains the chair indeed in many contemporary homes. Real ones, produced by Fritz Hansen in pressure-moulded veneer in beech, ash or coloured lacquer finishes, cost over £300. John Lewis and eBay have passable copies.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates