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Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 953.1.25 (RHiX32583)
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Side chair

Object number



Maker Unknown


38 1/2 20 1/2 17 1/8 in. (97.79 52.07 43.498 cm)



Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society


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


Mahogany (primary); pine (corner blocks); maple (slip seat frame)




“IIII,” incised on rabbet of front seat rail and the front rail of the slip seat


Henry A. Hoffman (born 1873), Barrington, Rhode Island and Litchfield, Connecticut; given to the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1953

Associated names

Henry A. Hoffman


The single-piece stile/legs are flat in front, rounded in back, turn outward and are straight-profiled just above the seat, below which they are square, raking inward and rearward. Their connection with the flat fronted, round-backed high-shouldered crest rail, which centers a carved shell, is concealed within vertical filler pieces. Tenoned into the crest?s underside is a single piece splat, straight in profile and vasiform in outline, which is also tenoned into the top of the molded, one-piece shoe. The shoe is fixed to the rear seat rail with wood-filled fasteners and overhangs the seat frame, where it exhibits rasp marks on its underside. The rear seat rail is tenoned and single-wood-pinned to the stile/legs on the proper right and triple-wood-pinned on the proper left, the latter joint possibly containing an old repair. The serpentine side seat rails, rabbeted to receive the slip seat, have flat-arched skirts and are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the stile/legs, and single-wood-pinned to the block atop the front legs, to which the flat-arch skirted front rail is tenoned and single-wood-pinned. The turned rear stretcher and blocked and turned side stretchers are tenoned and single-wood-pinned to their respective legs. The turned medial stretcher is doweled into the blocked portion of the side stretchers. In the front corners of the seat frame are large quarter round blocks with chamfered edges; the proper left block is nailed with brads. The cabriole legs have rounded knees, and deeply carved tendons, claws and talons, grasping elongated ball feet. The ankle of the proper right front foot shows signs of an old repair. The rails of the slip seat meet in mortise and tenon joints. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N Johnson, June, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Joan Barzilay Freund, Alan Miller, and Leigh Keno, "The Very Pink of the Mode: Boston Georgian Chairs, Their Export, Their Influence," American Furniture (1996): 296, fig. 46.
John T. Kirk, American Chairs: Queen Anne and Chippendale (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), 132, fig. 167.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 8–9, no. 7, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 63, fig. 1.55.
Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "Catalog of The Rhode Island Historical Society Furniture Collection," Rhode Island History 14, no. 4 (October 1955): 124–25, no. 2, 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), 341nn2, 4.