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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Title:side chair
Date Made:1710-1725
Materials:wood: beech, paint, cane, textile
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Boston (probably)
Measurements:overall: 48 1/2 x 18 x 19 1/2 in.; 123.19 x 45.72 x 49.53 cm
Accession Number:  HD 61.242

William and Mary cane-back side chair painted black, with a cane back and seat and upholstered seat cushion. Imported English caned chairs, 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 London style of this shaped and pierced crest rail with carved scrolls and center foliate; over turned stiles topped with round finials and flanking a narrow rectangular cane back held with two molded stiles, which continue into slightly flared rear legs; thin seat frame, plain front seat rail, and grooves on the top of the seat rails; ball and ring turned front stretcher, medial, and back stretchers, and two block and turned side stretchers; block and turned front legs ending in small ball feet. The rear of the seat is dovetailed and pinned into the stiles. This chair once purportedly belonged to the Schuyler family of Albany, New York. An "SS" is carved into the back of the proper right stile and "VIII" is carved into the back of the proper left stile. The painted surface of the spat and seat differ from that on the rest of the chair. Under some areas of black paint, a golden-yellow paint is visible.

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