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Side Chair, Splat-Back

Origin: America, Massachusetts or Rhode Island
OH: 42"; OW: 20 1/2"; OD: 16 1/2"
Mahogany and maple
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1970-102
Appearance: Side chair with concave yoke center top of crest flanked by one element at each side curving outward to form a circular corner, then inward to meet stiles; flat stiles flaring outward from top to bottom; vase-shaped splat; compass shaped seat with quarter-round molding at top edge and a series of scallops at center front; cabriole front legs with raised fillet at each side extending from bracket part way down leg to a volute and legs terminating in pad feet on a disc; back legs chamfered on each corner and flare to rear; flat, curved stretcher at each side and flat, curved medial stretcher; turned stretcher between back legs circular in cross section with bulbous central section; construction note: this chair was made without corner blocks.

Woods: mahogany; maple slip seat frame.
Label:Around 1720, American furniture began to feature shapely curves. The "S" curve was considered the most elegant shape and was published as such by London artist and engraver William Hogarth in The Analysis of Beauty (1753). Many curvaceous Boston chairs were exported to Rhode Island, New York, and Virginia, influencing the designs of chairs produced there. This chair was probably made in Boston. However, it could be a Rhode Island example based an imported Boston prototype. At least 728 Boston chairs arrived in Virginia ports between 1727 and 1755.
Mark(s):"III" carved into inside of front rail and into slip-seat frame.