This Chippendale-style chair is one of many such chairs used in the 220-square metre ballroom, one of the most significant rooms at Rideau Hall. Both seat and back are upholstered in soft blue and gold silk damask. The legs curve outward at the knee, taper inward at the ankle, and end with ball and claw feet.
The ballroom chairs are used for various events, dinners, and receptions at Rideau Hall, the official residence and workplace of every governor general since 1867. Sitters include the Prime Minister and other Members of Parliament during a swearing-in ceremony, Heads of State for the duration of a State dinner, and ordinary and perhaps not so ordinary Canadians during a forum, a youth dialogue, or an investiture ceremony.
Today’s sitters differ significantly from those of the early days of the British governors general when “protocol was so strict that the vice-regal couple could only dine and accept invitations from about a dozen people, such as the Papal Nuncio and the Chief Justice of Canada,” recalls Adrienne Clarkson in the book Canada’s House: Rideau Hall and the Invention of a Canadian Home.
The guests all rise to sing ‘O Canada’, Swearing-in ceremony for members of the Canadian Ministry (Cabinet) at Rideau Hall, January 19, 2010, digital photograph. Photo: MCpl Jean-François Néron, Rideau Hall, GG2010-0013-47.
Ballroom Chair, Rideau Hall, National Capital Commission, Ottawa. Photo: G. Iddon © Musée Bytown, 2010.
A bit of breakdancing…, Women’s Conference evening and artistic performances at Rideau Hall. September 10, 2010, digital photograph. Photo: Sgt Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall, GG2010-0472-035.
“We have brought together for you and for the Duchess some of Canada’s leaders in agriculture, the food industry and our nation’s table”, Visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Official Dinner, Rideau Hall, November 11, 2009, digital photograph. Photo: Sgt Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall, GG2009-0534-022.