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Photo: Courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Bayou Bend Collection, Gift of Miss Ima Hogg
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Side chairs, pair

Object number



Maker Unknown


B.69.90.1: Height: 39 1/2 22 21 1/2 in. (100.33 55.88 54.61 cm) B.69.90.2: Height: 39 1/2 22 20 5/8 in. (100.33 55.88 52.39 cm)



Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


Probably made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Black walnut (primary); soft maple (slip seat frame)




"X," incised, front rail and seat of B.69.90.1; "VIII," incised, on front rail and "III," on front of seat of B.69.90.2


Parson Thomas Smith (1702–1795) Boston and Falmouth (now Portland), Maine. F. O. Bailey, Portland, Maine, by May 12, 1950; sold to Ginsburg and Levy, New York; sold June 29, 1953, to Ima Hogg (1882–1975), Houston; gift to Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, before 1969

Associated names

Parson Thomas Smith
Ginsburg and Levy, Inc.
Ima Hogg
F. O. Bailey Auctioneers


Each chair has a flat-fronted, chamfered-back crest rail centering a carved shell with volutes, tenoned and wood-pinned to flat-fronted, chamfered-back serpentine stiles. The one-piece, vasiform splat is tenoned into the bottom of the crest rail and into the top of the molded, one-piece shoe, which slightly overhangs the rear seat rail. The rear rail is tenoned and wood-pinned to the stiles, which are chamfered at all four corners between the rails and the stretchers, and rake rearward below the stretchers. The serpentine, rabbeted, side and front rails have flat-arched skirts, and are tenoned and wood-pinned to their respective legs. The turned rear and medial stretchers are doweled into the rear legs and side stretchers, respectively. The blocked and turned side stretchers are tenoned and wood-pinned to the front and rear legs. The cabriole front legs have shell, volute and flower-carved knees, claw and ball feet, and carved knee brackets. Examined by P.E. Kane, August 8, 2013; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


David B. Warren et al., American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1998), 24–25, no. F41, 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), 73–74, fig. 7.