Side chair, splat-back
Origin: America, New Hampshire, Portsmouth
OH: 37 1/4"; OW: 20 1/2"; OD: 17"
Black walnut, maple, and white pine
Acc. No. 1982-282,2
Splat-back yoke-crested side chair with pointed and flared ears; solid tappered splat; tall, thin shoe with shallow quarter round molding; ogee-shaped front knee brackets; H-shaped stretchers and rear stretcher with bead on outer corners of side and rear stretchers; corners of front legs worn, but may have orignally had bead; squared rear stiles, chamfered on interior edge below seat and on reverse above seat; horizontal triangular glue blocks nailed in corners of seat frame; Side chair has pinned mortise and tenon joinery on side and rear stretchers; medial stretcher dovetailed to side ditto from bottom; shoe nailed to rear stretcher; splat tenoned into crest and shoe; stile tenoned into crest.
Woods: Black walnut crest rails, stiles, splats, shoes, legs, and stretchers; maple seat rails; white pine glue blocks.
Label:A customer could choose a variety of options, including the design of the splat, when purchasing chairs. Pierced splats were more labor intensive and therefore more expensive than solid examples.
This unadorned side chair demonstrates the appreciation of Portsmouth, New Hampshire's inhabitants for the neat and plain style. The city's merchants had close ties with England, where that style was popular, and a number are known to have imported British furniture for their homes. Nathaniel Barrell returned from three years in England with a set of six chairs covered in crimson damask. Needing a larger set in Portsmouth, he had a local craftsman copy the fashionable London examples.