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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, set of four

Object number



Maker Unknown
Maker, formerly attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


38 × 21 1/2 × 18 in. (96.52 × 54.61 × 45.72 cm)



Current location

Preservation Society of Newport County


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








Originally owned by Christopher Champlin (1731–1805), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent in the Champlin family, possibly to Mrs. Oliver Hazard Perry (née Elizabeth Champlin Mason, 1791–1858); sold at the sale of the contents of the Perry House, Parade (Washington Square) Newport, Rhode Island, 1858; purchased by the King family of Newport, Rhode Island, and Albany, New York; by descent to Peter King, Newport, Rhode Island; sold to Ralph Carpenter, Jr. (1909–2009), Newport, Rhode Island; for the Preservation Society of Newport County, 1953

Associated names

Christopher Champlin
Elizabeth Mason Champlin Perry
King family
Peter King


Each chair has a double-serpentine crest with flaring ears, a central arched leaf-carved reserve and carved gadrooning on its top front edge continuing down to its single-piece openwork scrolling volute and leaf-covered splat. The front of the crest rail is flat; the back is rounded. The leg/stiles, tenoned and wood-pinned to the crest rail (the pins are visible on both faces of the crest) are flat in front, rounded in back, then square and rearward-raking from just above the seat frame to the bottom. The splat is tenoned into the bottom of the crest rail and into the top of the molded shoe, which is fixed to the rear seat rail with a variety of nails and wood-filled fasteners. The rear seat rail is tenoned and wood-pinned to the leg/stiles. The rear stretcher is tenoned and wood-pinned to the rear leg; the pins are visible on both faces of the legs. The side stretchers are tenoned and wood-pinned to the front and rear legs. The rear and side-stretchers are all flush with the outside faces of their adjoining legs. The medial stretcher is tenoned to the side stretchers. At the end of one medial stretcher is an old repair. The front legs are stop-fluted on their outside faces only, each face having five flutes. Each front leg?s outside corner is a continuous bead. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, June 6, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd

Related objects

See also


Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., The Arts and Crafts of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640–1820 (Newport, R.I.: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1954), 30, 200, no. 4, ill.
Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "The Newport Exhibition," Antiques 64, no. 1 (July 1953): 39, fig. 3.
Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "Newport, A Center of Colonial Cabinetmaking," Antiques 147, no. 4 (April 1995): 550, pl. I, 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), 3, 374–76, 378, no. 81.