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Photo: Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts 39.172
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Side chair

Object number



Maker Unknown
Maker, possibly by John Goddard, American, 1723–1785


Height: 38 1/2 15 19 1/4 in. (97.79 38.1 48.895 cm)



Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (slip seat); pine (glue blocks)




"VI," incised, front seat rail and underside of slip seat frame


George Watson Hall Smith (1896–1968), Providence, Rhode Island. Martha Codman Karolik (1858–1948) and Maxim Karolik (1893–1963), Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island; given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939

Associated names

Maxim Karolik
Martha Codman Karolik
George Watson Hall Smith


The flat-fronted crest rail centers a finely carved shell, and is rounded at the back, but flat behind the shell. It is joined to the flat-fronted, round-backed serpentine stiles with mortise and tenon joints, each exhibiting one pin, visible on the front and back. The open work splat sits in a molded shoe, each side of which has a fastener on its upper face. The rear rail joins the rear legs with mortise and tenon joints exhibiting one pin each. The mortise and tenon joints of the side rails exhibit two pins each at the rear legs. The front rail exhibits a pin at each end above the front legs. The rabbeted frame for the slip seat includes two vertical rectangular glue blocks at the top of each leg. The side stretchers below are block and baluster-turned, having one pin each at their joint with the rear legs, none at the front legs. The turned medial and side stretchers are doweled into their adjoining legs and stretchers. The rear legs are rectangular in section and taper slightly at the bottom. The rails of the slip seat are assembled by mortise and tenon joints, exhibiting one pin at each corner. The front legs have rounded knees and brackets and vigorously carved tendons, claws and talons grasping elongated ball feet. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, November 14, 2012; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Related objects

See also


Edwin J Hipkiss, Eighteenth-Century American Arts: The M. and M. Karolik Collection (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), 142–143, no. 80, ill.
Helen Comstock, "Transitional Features in American Chairs," Antiques 41, no. 5 (May 1942): 313, fig. 4.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York: MacMillan Company, 1963), no. 2155, ill.
Elizabeth Stillinger, The Antiques Guide to Decorative Arts in America, 1600–1875 (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1972), 118, 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), 338, 341n2, no. 69, fig. 1, 3–4.