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Couch

1720-1740
Origin: America, Massachusetts or Rhode Island
OH: 40 3/8"; OL: 67 1/2"; OW: 21 3/4"
Maple and leather
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1954-379
Couch with canted stiles molded on front edge surmounted by urn finials. Rectangular leather covered splat with double arch and yoke cresting rail. Rectangular cross-piece at bottom of splat. Rectangular old leather covered seat (leather may be original) supported by pair of squared legs at head. Three pair of blocked and turned legs terminating in ball feet. Side stretchers with ball and disk turnings. Four medial stretchers of turned baluster form.
Label:While the bulbous turnings of the stretchers between the legs reflect the fashion of around 1680 to 1720, the curved or yoke-shaped crest rail did not become popular on chairs and couches until the 1720s. Dating 1720 to 1740, this couch demonstrates the practice among chairmakers to update traditional forms with elements of newer fashions.

Most couches of this period had cane or canvas seats and soft cushions. This example retains its original leather upholstery and may have been used with one long cushion for the seat and a smaller one for the back. Couches were expensive forms found primarily in the parlors of prosperous homes where ladies could recline on them during the day.
Provenance:From the Ladd house in Wickford, Rhode Island.