COLLECTION: Furniture

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Armchair

ca. 1810
Origin: America, Virginia, Petersburg
OH: 37 7/8" OW: 21 7/8" OD: 19"
Mahogany, with oak, walnut, and poplar secondary wood.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1993-339
Armchair with a square back and crest rail. The back has three vertical banisters, each flaring out at the bottom and top with an oval element, located half way up each bannister. The stiles, crest rail and splat rail all have an incised line 1/8" from each front edge. All are rounded at the rear. The chair has serpentine arm rests, supported by a serpentine arm support. The right arm is joined to the side, seat rails by three large screws. Front and side seat rails are very deep with a semi-circular shape to hide a chamber pot. The rear, seat rail is straight and square. The seat shape is trapezoid. The side, seat rails have quarter-round molding on the top edge, which continues for 1 1/2" onto the front seat rail at each side. The molding is missing from the front edge. (Possibly it was attached to the slip seat and has been lost.) Beneath the slip seat is a solid board of poplar cut with a circle large enough to accomodate a chamber-pot. The front legs are square and taper slightly from top to bottom. The rear legs are square and untapered, They flare out to the rear. No chamfers are present.
Label:This armchair, which doubles as a commode, or potty chair, is a plain version of an early classical style chair. Although the taste for the neat and plain predominated in eastern Virginia, the simplicity of this chair was probably due more to cost than fashion. The overall form of the back with its three vertical slats echoed the shape of more elaborate carved or inlaid square back chairs of the period. Producing the chair without ornamentation provided a fashionable chair at a fraction of the cost.
Mark(s):None found (to date)