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Side Chair, Splat-Back

ca. 1740
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
OH (back): 42" OH (seat): 17 1/8" OW (seat front): 20 3/4" OD (seat): 16 3/8"
Black walnut throughout.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1970-8,2
Splat-back side chair with shell at center top of crest flanked by a horizontal volute at each side; vase-shaped splat; rounded stiles made originally with one piece spliced to each other; side conform to shape of splat; side rails mortised through rear legs; shaped seat rail curving outward at each front corner and recession at center front of seat with applied shell; back legs chamfered at each corner and rake to rear; cabriole front legs with acanthus carving on each knee flanked by bracket with a volute and the leg terminating in a trifid foot with depressed element at each side extending up through ankle.
Label:That the most fully developed late baroque furniture in British North America was made in Philadelphia is verified by this chair. A supreme statement of the curvilinear style, this tour de force has only two right angles and four parallel straight lines at the height of the seat rails; nevertheless, it is soundly constructed.
Provenance:Tradition of original ownership by John and Mary Coates Reynell who married in 1736 and lived in Philadelphia.

History of ownership according to letter from Estelle L. Sharp to Milo M. Naeve July 31, 1970 (in object file):
1. Mary Coates, daughter of Thomas and Beulah Coates married John Reynell in 1736. They lived on the corner of Front and Walnut Sts., Phila.
2. Samuel Coates (1748-1830), who was an infant at the time of his father's death (Josiah Langdale Coates) was adopted by his Uncle Reynell who had lost all his children. This Samuel Coates was manager of the Penna. Hospital for 40 years.
3. His sons by 2nd wife (Amy Horner, married 1791)
Dr. Benj. Horner Coates 1797-1881
Dr. Reynell Coates
4. Miss Mary Coates (1815-1913) had the chairs from 1881 until her death. 1616 Arch St., Phila.
5. Her nephew, William Morrison Coates, 1717 Spruce St. Phila. from 1913-1945
6. His daughter Esther Coates Sharp, "Overfields," Berwyn, PA.

The probable path of descent through the Coates family is:
John & Mary Coates Reynell to her nephew Samuel Coates (1748-1830); to his son Benjamin Homer Coates (1797-1881); to his first cousin once removed Mary Coates (1815-1913); to her nephew Henry Troth Coates (1843-1910) and or nephew William Morrison Coates (1845-1937); to William’s daughter Ester Coates Sharp (1870-1968); to daughters May Bunting Sharp (b. 1907) and Estelle L. Sharp (1902-1994).
Mark(s):Roman numeral "I" impressed center front top of frame for slipseat; paper label on back of seat rail inscribed "Hen(ry?) T (?) Coates:
Inscription(s):No