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Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Historical Society, 1953.1.25 (RHiX32583)
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Side chair


Object number

RIF1204

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

97.79 x 52.07 x 43.498 cm (38 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 17 1/8 in.)

Date

1755–1775

Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society

Geography

Made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (corner blocks); maple (slip seat frame)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“IIII,” incised on rabbet of front seat rail and the front rail of the slip seat

Style

Chippendale, Queen Anne

Provenance

Henry A. Hoffman (born 1873), Barrington, Rhode Island and Litchfield, Connecticut; given to the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1953

Associated names

Henry A. Hoffman

Construction

The single-piece stile/legs are flat in front, rounded in back, turn outward and are straight-profiled just above the seat, below which they are square, raking inward and rearward. Their connection with the flat fronted, round-backed high-shouldered crest rail, which centers a carved shell, is concealed within vertical filler pieces. Tenoned into the crest?s underside is a single piece splat, straight in profile and vasiform in outline, which is also tenoned into the top of the molded, one-piece shoe. The shoe is fixed to the rear seat rail with wood-filled fasteners and overhangs the seat frame, where it exhibits rasp marks on its underside. The rear seat rail is tenoned and single-wood-pinned to the stile/legs on the proper right and triple-wood-pinned on the proper left, the latter joint possibly containing an old repair. The serpentine side seat rails, rabbeted to receive the slip seat, have flat-arched skirts and are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the stile/legs, and single-wood-pinned to the block atop the front legs, to which the flat-arch skirted front rail is tenoned and single-wood-pinned. The turned rear stretcher and blocked and turned side stretchers are tenoned and single-wood-pinned to their respective legs. The turned medial stretcher is doweled into the blocked portion of the side stretchers. In the front corners of the seat frame are large quarter round blocks with chamfered edges; the proper left block is nailed with brads. The cabriole legs have rounded knees, and deeply carved tendons, claws and talons, grasping elongated ball feet. The ankle of the proper right front foot shows signs of an old repair. The rails of the slip seat meet in mortise and tenon joints. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N Johnson, June, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "Catalog of The Rhode Island Historical Society Furniture Collection," Rhode Island History 14, no. 4 (October 1955): 124–25, no. 2, ill.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 8-9, no. 7, ill.
John T. Kirk, American Chairs: Queen Anne and Chippendale (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), 132, fig. 167.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 63, fig. 1.55.
Joan Barzilay Freund, Alan Miller, and Leigh Keno, "The Very Pink of the Mode: Boston Georgian Chairs, Their Export, Their Influence," American Furniture (1996): 296, fig. 46.