COLLECTION: Furniture

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Windsor Side Chair

1820-1830
Origin: America, Tennessee, Washington County, Leesburg
OH: 33 1/8; OW: 19"; OD: 18 1/8"; SD: 15 3/8"
Tulip poplar, hickory, and paint
Museum Purchase, TIF Foundation in memory of Michelle A. Iverson
Acc. No. 2018-331
Tablet, braced-back Windsor side chair; rectangular crest rail with inwardly angled ends supported by turned stiles that in turn are connected by a thin stay rail about 1/3 of the way down from the tablet; two long spindles connecting the seat to the tablet and one shorter spindle connects the seat to the stay rail; two additional spindles connect an extension on the back of the seat to the tablet, bracing the back; shaped seat with chamfered front edges with old blue paint; bamboo turned legs with front, side, and rear round stretchers; front stretcher has additional rectangular panel in center; originally painted blue with yellow and red highlights.
Label:Many Backcountry furniture forms were nearly identical to those from centers near the Atlantic coast, but others were quite different. This East Tennessee Windsor chair falls into the latter category. It's perfectly straight and flat crest rail, widely spaced back spindles, pronounced back bracing, and squared seat are quite unlike those seen on contemporary Windsor chairs from other parts of the United States. Together these elements give the char a singular and very appealing appearance.

Color was an important aspect of much Backcountry furniture design, although time often erases its impact. This chair and its maters were initially painted a bright, strong blue and the turned rings and incised lines were highlighted in yellow and red. Seen en masse, the chairs must have been striking. They were first used at the 1821 DeVault Tavern in Leesburg, Tennessee.
Provenance:This chair was part of the original furnishings for the DeVault Tavern constructed between 1819 and 1821 in Leesburg, Washington County, Tennessee. The house was built by Frederick DeVault (1748-1847) and his wife Margaret T. DeVault (1785-1865). The house and its furnishings descended in the DeVault family until 2006.