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Photo: Courtesy Hunter House, The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, Rhode Island; photo by Tracey Kroll
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Side chairs, pair


Object number

RIF832

Maker

Maker Unknown
Maker, possibly by Thomas Davenport, 1681?1745

Dimensions

38 1/4 22 16 3/4 in. (97.155 55.88 42.545 cm) Seat height: 17 in. (43.18 cm)

Date

1755–75

Current location

Unknown

Geography

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

Medium

Black walnut (primary); maple (slip seat)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“VIIII,” incised on rabbet of front seat rail of one chair; “DAVENPORT [later],” in graphite, on interior of rear and proper-left seat rails of chair “VIIII”; “XIII,” incised on rabbet of front seat rail and underside of slip-seat frame of other chair; illegible chalk, on interior of rear seat rail of chair “XIII”

Style

Queen Anne, Chippendale

Provenance

Ruth Davenport, Middletown, Rhode Island; sold to Joseph K. Ott (1929–1994), Providence, Rhode Island, by 1982; by descent to his wife Anne Northrup Ott (1929–2015), Providence, Rhode Island; by decent in the Ott family

Associated names

Davenport family
Ruth Davenport
Joseph K. Ott
Anne Northrop Ott

Construction

The crest rail has slightly arched shoulders with incurvate terminal ?ears,? is flat in front and has chamfered edges in back. The straight, rearward raking leg/stiles, which are tenoned and wood-pinned to the crest, are similarly faced down to the seat rail, where they are square, are then chamfered to the midpoint of the rear stretcher, and then square to the bottom, with a slight chamfer on the inside face below the side stretchers. Also tenoned into the crest rail is a straight single-piece openwork vasiform splat with chamfered back edges, tenoned below into a molded shoe which overhangs the seat frame and is fixed to the rear seat rail with wood-filled fasteners. The rear seat rail is tenoned and wood-pinned to the leg/stiles. The flat arch-skirted side rails, tenoned and wood-pinned to the leg/stiles and to the front legs, are serpentine outside, rabbeted to accept the slip seat, and straight inside. The front seat rail is similarly configured. The rear and medial stretchers, doweled into their respective neighboring elements, each have a double ring turning at the head of their slightly conical ends. The side stretchers include a prominent ring turning a certain distance away from the rear-blocked portions and are tenoned and wood-pinned to the rear and front legs, with pins visible on the legs? outside faces only. The front tenons are oversized and meet the front legs at their flattened ?calves.? The front cabriole legs have rounded knees and full-disc shod pad feet. The slip seat?s side rails are tenoned into the front and rear rails. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, December 17, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Notes

This example (RIF832) was purchased in the twentieth century from Ruth Davenport, a descendant of the furniture maker Thomas Davenport, and has the name "Davenport" inscribed on it in nineteenth-century script that led the scholar Joseph Ott to attribute the chair to Thomas Davenport.

See also


Bibliography

Joseph K. Ott, "Lesser-Known Rhode Island Cabinetmakers: The Carliles, Holmes Weaver, Judson Blake, the Rawsons, and Thomas Davenport," Antiques 121, no. 5 (May 1982): 1163, fig. 10 (left).
Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, New England Furniture: The Colonial Era (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984), 35, 37, fig. I-42.
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), 76, 91n13, 194, 252, 256, 258, 260, 264n9, 265–268, 272, 347, 362, 364n7, 365, no. 48, fig. 1.