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Photo: Courtesy of Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, Vt., used with permission
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Banister-back armchair

Object number



Maker Unknown


45 × 24 × 20 1/2 in. (114.3 × 60.96 × 52.07 cm)



Current location

Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh


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


Maple (stiles, front posts, front stretchers, arms, side and rear seat rails, crest, stay rail, and proper left two spindles); ash or oak (stretchers, proper right four spindles); oak (front seat rail)






Probably owned by David Fish (1709–unknown), Portsmouth, Rhode Island; by descent to his son David Fish, Jr., (1734–unknown), Portsmouth, Rhode Island; by descent to his daughter Mrs. Thomas Robinson (née Jemima Fish, 1761–1846), Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to her son Rowland T. Robinson (1796–1879), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to his son George G. Robinson (1825–1894), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to his brother Rowland E. Robinson (1833–1900), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to his wife Anna S. Robinson (1840–1920), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; given to Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, Vermont

Associated names

Jemima Fish Robinson
David Fish
David Fish, Jr.
Rowland E. Robinson
Anna S. Robinson
George G. Robinson
Lydia Dennis Fish
Rowland T. Robinson


The deeply chamfered crest rail, which centers an arched reserve with a carved heart, is tenoned and pinned into elaborately turned stiles. Set into the bottom of the crest rail and the top of the deeply chamfered lower rail are six turned and split banisters, mimicking the profiles of the flanking stiles. Tenoned and pinned into the stiles are carved and molded scrolling arms, into which are doweled and pinned the turned arm supports/front legs, whose configuration mimics again the rear stiles. The plain, straight single rear stretcher is doweled and pinned into the plain, straight rear legs, probably reduced in height. The double side stretchers are also doweled and pinned into their respective legs. The seat is composed of chamfered rails set into each leg and covered with woven splints assisted by string. The front legs (probably reduced in height) are joined with pins to an elaborately turned stretcher. Examined by P.E. Kane, May 24, 2008; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd


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), 190–191, 195n6, no. 23.