image of object
From: Milo M. Naeve, "A New England Chair Design of 1760 and Attributions to the Job Townsends of Newport," Newport History: Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society 72 (Spring 2003): 3, fig. 2
Click the image to enlarge

Side chairs, set of six


Object number

RIF214

Maker

Maker possibly by Job Townsend, Sr., 1699 - 1765

Dimensions

105.41 x 51.753 x 42.545cm (41 1/2 x 20 3/8 x 16 3/4in.)

Date

1740–1760

Current location

Unknown

Geography

Probably made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Walnut

Marks

Unknown

Inscriptions

Unknown

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

By descent Eddy family, Warren, Rhode Island; sold to Philip Flayderman, Boston; consigned by his estate to American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc., New York, January 2–4, 1930, lot 492 ; sold to Israel Sack, Inc., New York; consigned to American Art Association Anderson Galleries, Inc., January 9, 1932, lot 80. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, before 1953; sold to Mr. and Mrs. E. Ross Millhiser, Richmond, Virginia, by 1953

Associated names

Eddy Family
Philip Flayderman
American Art Association
Israel Sack
Israel Sack, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. E. Ross Millhiser

Notes

This chair from a set of six provides the basis for an attribution of chairs of this type to Job Townsend, Sr. The traditional began with the sale of the set from the collection of Philip Flayderman in 1930 wherein the auction catalogue stated that the set was by Job Townsend and had been purchased in Warren, Rhode Island from a descendant of the original owner. The set was purchased from the Flayderman sale by Israel Sack who in turn sold it in 1932. The 1932 Sack sale catalogue added additional information giving a specific date of 1743 and identifying the family in Warren as the Eddy family. Neither catalogue cited any corroborating evidence for the attribution. In 1998 Joan Barzilay Freund and Leigh Keno, in assessing the Boston chairmaking trade, challenged this attribution and reattributed the set to Boston, comparing them to the "India back" chairs, illus. 20, 21, and 27 in their article, also reattributed to Boston (see "The Making and Marketing of Boston Seating Furniture in the Late Baroque Style," American Furniture 1998, 33–34, illus. 52). The "India back" chairs have crest rails, hooped stiles, and flat stretchers similar to those on the chairs attributed to Job Townsend. The Townsend chairs, however, have thick rear legs square below the stretchers and commodious pad feet. Their overall heft is more in keeping with chairs indisputably made in Rhode Island and suggests that the traditional attribution to Rhode Island is warranted. The source for the attribution to Job Townsend, Sr., is undocumented, hence the tentative attribution to this maker for this set. Milo M. Naeve studied the set of Job Townsend chairs and seventeen related examples and came to the conclusion that eight different shops were involved in their construction (see "A New England Chair Design of 1730–1760 and Attributions to the Job Townsends of Newport, Rhode Island," Newport History: Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society 72 (Spring 2003). Some of the chairs in this group have a plain front seat rail like the Flayderman set (RIF1227, 1231, 2736) and here have been given an even more tenuous attribution to Job Townsend, Sr.; others have a shaped front seat rail with a molded top edge (RIF 78, 334, 3410, and 3753) and in light of Naeve's research do not warrant even a tenuous attribution to Job Townsend.

See also


Bibliography

"American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 16, no. 6 (December 1929): 450, ill.
Anderson Galleries and American Art Association, New York, Colonial Furniture, Silver, and Decorations: The Collection of the Late Philip Flayderman, sale cat. (January 2–4, 1930), 250–251, lot 492, ill.
American Art Association and Anderson Galleries, New York, One Hundred Important American Antiques, sale cat. (January 9, 1932), 110–111, lot 80, ill.
Albert Sack, "Israel Sack: A Record of Service 1903–1953," Israel Sack, Inc. (1953): 36–37.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 248, 255, fig. 6.2.
Joan Barzilay Freund and Leigh Keno, "The Making and Marketing of Boston Seating Furniture in the Late Baroque Style," American Furniture, 1998 (1998): 33–34, fig. 52.
Milo M. Naeve, "A New England Chair Design of 1730-1760 and Attributions to the Job Townsends of Newport," Newport History: Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society 72 (Spring 2003): 3, 13–17, charts I–II, IV, fig. 2.
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), 5n15, 257n2.