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Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1959.3385
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Roundabout chair


Object number

RIF1084

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Unknown

Date

1740–1750

Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Geography

Probably made in Southeastern New England, Possibly made in Rhode Island or Massachusetts
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Cherry (primary);hard maple (outer left rear rail); white pine (inner left rear rail)

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

George Smith Palmer (1855–1934), New London, Connecticut; sold to Israel Sack (1883–1959), Boston, 1928; consigned to Anderson Galleries, Inc., New York, October 20, 1928, lot 308; sold to Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), Winterthur, Delaware; given to Winterthur Museum, Delaware, 1960

Associated names

George Smith Palmer
Israel Sack
Anderson Galleries
Henry Francis du Pont

Construction

The ogee-ended crest is attched to the arm rail with six countersunk screws entering from the rail bottom. The crest face is rounded to the upper back edge. The back surface is flat, except at the ends where deep V-cuts are terminated by small scrolls at the top edge. The two-piece flat arm rail with broadly chamfered top edges is butted at the center back; the bottom edges are narrowly chamfered. The forward terminals are large, circular pads. The flat-faced splats have deeply canted edges, front to back, and are tenoned into the arm rail and plinths. The plinths are hollow on the front and side faces; finished with low, stepped top beads; and nailed to the back seat rails. The posts are round tenoned into the arm rail. The compass-shape seat frame is finished wtih a round-sloping top lip, interior rabbets at the front rails to support the loose-seat frame, and corner blocks. The bottom edges of the front rails are sawed in flat arches; the rear rails have facing boards on the interior surfaces. The rails are joined to the post blocks and front leg extension with rectangular tenons (pinned). The side and rear legs are continuous with the upper posts. The knee brackets are doubled nailed. The three-knuckle claw toes are terminated by medium-length nails. The cross stretchers, which are secured at the center by a double rabbet, are round tenoned into the legs. Source: Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur (Winterthur Press, 1997): 129.

Notes

Although Joseph Downs attributed this chair to Newport, more recent scholars are less definitive about its regional origins. Nancy Goyne Evans and Nancy Richards point to the similarities in Boston chairmaking of the pattern of the feet, the ogee knee brackets with pronounced pointed bases, and the baluster splat with broad top and narrow waist. Cherry is infrequently found on Boston furniture, however, but was used throughout southeastern New England.

Bibliography

Anderson Galleries, New York, The George S. Palmer Collection Removed from "Westomere", New London, Conn. sold by order of Mr. I. Sack, Boston, Mass., sale cat. (October 18–20, 1928), lot 308.
Loan Exhibition of Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth-Century Furniture and Glass, exh. cat. (New York: American Art Galleries, 1929), n.p., no. 553.
Joseph Downs, American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods in the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum (New York: MacMillan Company, 1952), no. 63, ill.
Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 128–129, no. 71.