William and Mary cane-back side chair with caned seat and back, originally painted black or grained. Imported English caned chairs, which were fashionable in London at the turn of the eighteenth century, were popular in the colonies. They appear in Massachusetts inventories as early as 1689 and were listed as part of household inventories into the mid-eighteenth century. When new, this form was a trend-setting example of the best Boston-made seating furniture; its carved crest rail or "crown", "crookt-back", and imported cane made it expensive. Local craftsmen copied the style of this carved shaped, molded and pierced crest rail (design based on Flemish scrolls) with carved leaves; over molded stiles flanking a narrow rectangular cane back, which continue into block and turned rear legs that end in Spanish feet missing the applied toes; a thin seat frame and plain front seat rail; ball and ring turned front stretcher, baluster-turned medial and back stretchers, and two block and turned, compressed side stretchers. According to family tradition, the chair came to Reverend Jonathan Ashley (1712-1780) from Dorothy Williams (1713-1808), the daughter of the Reverend William Williams (1665-1741) of Hatfield, who married c.1736; it descended in the Ashley family to Mrs. Dorothy Blatchford Petitt of Ottawa, Illinois, who gave it to HD. Several identical chairs, such as a chair at Winterthur, and a small group of similar chairs with scalloped seat rails exist in other collections. Other Boston-made "River God"-owned chairs in Historic Deerfield are the cane-back side chair (95.040) from the Stoddard family and leather-back side chair (79.012) that belonged to William Williams (1731-1811) of Lebanon, Conn., a nephew of Dorothy Williams Ashley.