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Photo: Courtesy Shelburne Museum, Vt., 3.3-203
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Roundabout chair

Object number



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


31 25 1/2 17 1/2 in. (78.74 64.77 44.45 cm)



Current location

Shelburne Museum, Vermont


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (seat frame); white pine (blocks on front leg)


John Kenneth Byard (1885–1959), Norwalk, Connecticut; sold to Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888–1960), Shelburne, Vermont; given to Shelburne Museum, Vermont

Associated names

Electra Havemeyer Webb
John Kenneth Byard


The crest rail is in three parts?an upper portion with curving profile and ogee shaped ends whose rear face is flush with the rear face of the two-part, half-round lower portion, with outset elbow rests and hand holds. The two parts of the lower crest rail meet in a wedged and pinned joint over the central serpentine stile. The upper and lower rails are joined from above by fasteners in plugged holes?two in the proper left end, one in the proper right end, and two in the curving central portions, and from below by multiple fasteners in plugged holes in the underside of the lower rail. The scrolling openwork splats are tenoned into the lower crest rail and into their one-piece molded shoes, which are nailed with brads to the rails below. The three serpentine stiles are continuous with the rear cabriole legs, and are attached to their adjoining rails in mortise and tenon joints, having two wood pins apiece. To support the slip seat, the serpentine front rails are rabbeted and the rear rails are fitted with triangular and rectilinear blocking, nailed with brads. The rear cabriole legs have angular knees, rounded ankles and shod pad feet. The front cabriole leg has a rounded knee, vigorously carved tendons, claws and undercut talons grasping an elongated ball foot. The rear talon on the front left is laminated and appears to be original. There are prominent kerf marks on the upper face of the rabbeted proper left front seat rail. The slip seat rails fit together with mortise and tenon joints, showing one pin each. The seat appears to retain some original upholstery nails and sack cloth. Examined by P.E. Kane, May 23, 2008; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd

See also


Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 62, fig. 1.54.
Ralph Nading Hill and Robert Shaw, "The Historic Structures," Antiques 133, no. 2 (February 1988): 440, ill.
Philip Zea, "The Serpentine Furniture of Colonial Newport," American Furniture (1999): 261–262, fig. 12.
Sotheby's, New York, Property of the Goddard Family, sale cat. (January 22, 2005), 62, fig. 6.
Amy Coes, "A Bill of Sale from John Goddard to John Brown and the Furniture It Documents," Antiques 169, no. 5 (May 2006): p.131, 133, footnote 26 [not illustrated].
Jean M. Burks, "Four Seasons at Shelburne: Color, Collectors, and Connoisseurs," Antiques 180, no. 4 (July–August 2013): 127, fig. 6.
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), 337n5.