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Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1951.0033
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Sofa


Object number

RIF1418

Maker

Maker Adam S. Coe, 1782–1862

Dimensions

Height: 105.41 x 238.76 x 70.485 cm (41 1/2 x 94 x 27 3/4 in.) Height, seat frame): 36.83cm (14 1/2in.) Width, crest: 233.363cm (91 7/8in.) Width, seat front: 199.39cm (78 1/2in.) Width, seat back: 197.485cm (77 3/4in.) Width, arms: 238.761cm (94in.) Width, feet: 198.12cm (78in.) Depth, feet: 67.31cm (26 1/2in.)

Date

1812

Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); birch (seat rails); cherry (seat braces); white pine (corner blocks)

Marks

"Made by Adam S. Coe April 1812 for Edw W. Lawton" in red chalk on front of crest rail

Inscriptions

"B Hadwen / of [?] Newport / [?] in graphite on the front of crest rail

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

John S. Walton, New York; sold to Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), Winterthur, Delaware, 1951; given to Winterthur Museum, Delaware, 1951

Associated names

Henry Francis du Pont
John S. Walton

Construction

(Frame upholstered; some commentary based on a photograph of the bare frame.) The frame comprises four units: a serpentine-top back panel, two end panels with roll tops, and a long rectangular base. The chamfered crest, bottom rail, and three vertical stiles of the back panel are framed with top rolls nailed between the forward and rear stiles. The stiles are tenoned into bottom rails. The triangular front pieces forming the forward sweeps of the arms probably are nailed to the front stiles and bottom rails. The seat rails are tenoned into the tops of the corner legs. The front seat rail is laminated across the center bulge. The inside frame corners are strengthened by four small triangular glue blocks. Embowed front-to-back seat braces, or struts, positioned at the intermediate legs are joined to the front and back rails with open dovetails. The intermediate back legs are double tenoned into the rails; the corresponding front legs are secured with rear tenons and open forward dovetails. All four rear legs flare backward and are canted on the forward surfaces. The end rear legs are chamfered on the inside forward corners; the center rear legs are chamfered on both forward corners. The forward faces of all the front legs and the outside faces of the end legs are molded in a serpentine profile with flanking beads. The slim rectangular stretchers are crowned on the top surface; all are tenoned into the adjacent members. The three units that compose the lengthwise medial stretchers are finished at the ends with projecting triangular points on the top surface to effect smooth transitions between crowned surfaces meeting at right angles. When the sofa is assembled, the back panel is positioned forward of the three vertical extensions located above the back rail and secured with screws. The end extensions are part of the rear legs; the center extension is tenoned into the back rail. Long, round tenons (probably dowels) beneath the wing panels pierce the seat rails and are secured from below with key wedges. The panels were perhaps secured originally with bed bolts. The delicate tenons located near the bottom front probably served only to guide the panels into position. Where the back stiles of the side units are butted to the ends of the back panel, large screws are inserted from the back of the crest scrolls into the arm rolls to further secure the units. Source: Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur, (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 185.

Bibliography

Joseph Downs, American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods in the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum (New York: MacMillan Company, 1952), no. 276, ill.
John A. H. Sweeney, The Treasure House of Early American Rooms (New York: Viking Press, 1963), 68–69, ill.
Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 183–185, no. 98, ill.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 83, fig. 15, 16 (detail).