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Armchair, Upholstered

1790-1810
Origin: America, New England
OH: 49"; OW: 26"; OD: 22 7/8"
Mahogany, birch, and boxwood
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1930-382
Appearance: Mahogany arm chair with tall, rectangular upholstered back with serpentine crest rail; slightly shaped arms with C-shaped arm supports terminating at tops of front legs; trapezoidal seat, upholstered over the rail; tapering front legs, square in cross section; string inlay outlining fronts of arm supports and with arched tops fronts and sides of front legs. Rake back rear legs, square in section, side, medial, and rear stretchers. No original upholstery remains; all modern upholstery removed.

Armchair with tall, rectangular stuffed back with serpentine top; slightly shaped arms with tapering "C"shaped arm supports; supports and front of arms outlined with continous band of light colored inlay; "square" seat upholstered over seat rails; tapering front legs, "square" in section; continuous band of inlay on two outside edges of front legs; rear legs "square" in section, flaring slightly to rear; four rectangular stretchers, two side, one rear, one medial. (TMS)
New suggested description: Mahogany arm chair with tall, rectangular upholstered back with serpentine crest rail; slightly shaped arm rests with C-shaped arm supports; square seat, upholstered over the rail; tapering front legs; string inlay on fronts of arm supports and fronts and sides of front legs. Rake back rear legs, square in section, with two side, one medial, and one rear stretcher. No original upholstery remains; all modern upholstery removed.

Construction: Seat rails tenoned into legs, arm supports likely tenoned into top of front legs. Four later triangular corner blocks nailed with 4-5 modern nails. Side stretchers tenoned between front and back legs (not flush with outside of legs, but set in slightly), rear stretchers tenoned between rear legs, medial stretcher tenoned between side stretchers, all original. Rear legs rise to up to form raking support for back stiles. Back stiles screwed from rear to front of supports with modern screws; seat stiles slightly wider than the seat rails into which they are notched; stiles tenoned to crest rail. Back frame bottom rail tenoned between back stiles. Arm supports tenoned to underside of arms. Arms vertical tenoned to back stiles.

Upholstery Evidence:
Back: There were three vertical webbing strips nailed to front of crest rail and wrapped under bottom rail of back frame and nailed to rear of same; likely no washers used, as there do not appear to be enough original nail holes. There were three horizontal webbing strips above the arms and one below. The foundation linen was tacked to top of front face of tacking rail and front faces of stiles and crest rail. The top linen was tacked to sides of stiles and top of front face of tacking rail and top of rear face of crest rail. The show cloth for the front of the back was nailed to the rear sides of crest rail, stiles (and stile supports), and rear seat rail. The rear show cloth would have been blind stitched to the show cloth from the front on the top and sides of the back, and nailed to the bottom of the rear seat rail.

Seat: There were three webbing strips side-to-side, and four webbings trips front to back, all nailed to top surfaces of seat rails. The foundation linen was also nailed to top surfaces of seat rails. The top linen was nailed to outside faces of rails. The show cloth was nailed to the bottom faces of the seat rail; the show cloth would have wrapped around the all four legs (covering the area on the front legs that is not inlayed); the original show cloth would have had a tape along the edges, rather than decorative brass nails. There is evidence of 20th century brass nails, but no original decorative brass nails.

An original nail ¼ inch above seat rail height located on the inside face of the proper right arm support may have been used to secure some layer of foundation upholstery. Another original nail (which may have fiber evidence imbedded in glue) on proper left inside face of rear leg, just above the seat rail, may also have secured foundation upholstery.

Nail hole evidence on outside faces of arm supports and the rear legs suggests one campaign of upholstery had a seat height of 1 inch above seat rail. Shadow evidence on the inside of arm supports suggest a different campaign with seat height of 1 ½ inch, above seat rail. It is unclear how early these campaigns were or which came first.
Provenance:Ex Coll: Philip Flayderman
Mark(s):None found.
Inscription(s):“2” in pencil on top proper left surface of rear seat rail and inside surface of rear proper left leg. “3” in same locations, proper right.