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Armchair, Ladderback

1725-1750
Origin: America, Pennsylvania or New Jersey
OH: 45 1/2"; OW: 24 1/2"; OD: 18"
Maple, hickory and rush
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1933-54
Ladder-back armchair with slightly tapering rear posts decorated with a series of incised lines terminating in flattened ball finials with points at tops. Five arched and bowed graduated slats forming back. Shaped, flat-top arms, under-cut at center. Upper half of front posts baluster turned, lower half cylindrical in section and terminating in ball feet. Large ball and disk turning on front stretcher. Pair of plain, parallel stretchers at each side. Single, plain stretcher at rear.

Woods: Maple throughout except for bottom slat which is probably hickory
Label:Philadelphia chairmaker Solomon Fussell recorded selling "6 five-slat Chairs turned fronts" of the "best" kind in 1745. Fussell's chairs were probably quite similar to this Delaware Valley armchair with five arched slats and a bulbous turned stretcher between the front legs. Combined with arms notched on their undersides, the form was typical of inexpensive chairs produced in Philadelphia and its environs from 1725 to 1750. Because different woods were used for the elements, Slat-back or Ladder-back chairs were typically painted to unify their appearance.
Mark(s):None found