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Writing-arm Windsor chair


Object number

RIF2547

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

106.045 x 93.98 x 80.645 cm (41 3/4 x 37 x 31 3/4 in.)

Date

1800–1810

Current location

Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (writing surface, arms, sides of drawer under seat, and fronts of drawers and slide in writing surface); pine (seat, back of drawer under seat, and bottom of small drawer on proper-left side of writing surface); chestnut (bottom of drawer under seat); maple (front of drawer under seat); yellow poplar (sides and back of small drawer in proper-left of writing surface); cedar (linings of small and large drawers in proper-right of writing surface, linings of large drawers in proper-left of writing surface, and slide in front of writing surface); birch (interior of writing surface, back rest, stretchers, crest, and spindles)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"Mrs. John A. Murphy," in black ink, on a paper label glued to underside of seat

Style

Windsor

Provenance

Dr. Enoch Hazard (1773–1844), Newport, Rhode Island. Mrs. John A. Murphy, ca. 1900. H. L. Chalfant, West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1999 and 2002; sold to Lesley and George Schoedinger, St. Louis, Missouri; consigned to Christie's, New York, January 18, 2008, lot 484 (unsold); given to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island

Associated names

Dr. Enoch Hazard
Mrs. John A. Murphy
H.L.Chalfant Antiques
George and Lesley Schoedinger
Christie's

Construction

Seven plain spindles are doweled into the top of an incised reserve in the back of the D-shaped seat, and through a two-part horseshoe-shaped back rail. Four of the seven are doweled and pinned into the bottom of the serpentine-top crest rail. The remaining, shorter spindles are turned more elaborately. Doweled into the seat and the rail and writing arm above are three vase-turned supports, one proper left and two proper right. Continuous with the proper right top of the back rail is a writing surface, which consists of a hinged top held on by two pairs of brass hinges, each leaf thrice-screwed. It opens to reveal three storage wells ? two rectangular, one triangular. When closed, two convex elements on its underside fit into concavities below and four concave elements receive convexities below. Below the storage wells are four segmental-fronted drawers ? a candleslide in front, and three drawers of various depths below the proper left face of the writing surface. The three drawers have flat-topped sides and backs, flush with their drawer fronts, which they meet in dovetail joints, with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The drawer sides are routed to move upon runners under the writing surface. The drawer bottoms are perpendicular to the fronts; the smaller ones are single-board, the larger one is two-piece. They fit into rabbets in the drawer fronts and are nailed with brads into rabbets in the drawer sides. Carved recesses provide finger pulls behind the bottom of the drawer fronts. In the underside of the writing-arm ?case? are longitudinal recesses into which the turned supports are set. Screwed to the underside of the seat and fitted around the tops of the turned legs are rabbeted cleats upon which a deep drawer sits. It has a single-board bottom parallel to the front, and sides, fitted with notched cleats, which meet the drawer front in dovetails joints with pins of varying configurations. The drawer sides are nailed to the backs. The seat and turned elements have traces of grain-painting. Examined by P.E. Kane, January 14, 2008; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Notes

The seat and the crest are grain painted.

Bibliography

"H. L. Chalfant Antiques advertisement," Antiques 156, no. 5 (November 1999): 656, ill.
"H.L. Chalfant Antiques advertisement," Maine Antique Digest (April 2002): 9–C.
"Philadelphia Antiques Show," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (April 18, 2003), 47.
Christie's, New York, Property from the Collection of George and Lesley Schoedinger, sale cat. (January 18, 2008), 20–21, lot 484, ill.