image of object
Photo: Courtesy Hunter House, The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, Rhode Island; photo by Tracey Kroll
Click the image to enlarge

Side chairs, pair

Object number



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


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



Current location



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


Black walnut (primary); maple (slip seat)




“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”


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
Joseph K. Ott
Anne Northrop Ott
Ruth Davenport


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.


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


Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, New England Furniture: The Colonial Era (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984), 35, 37, fig. I-42.
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).
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.