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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
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Title:lolling chair
Date Made:1780-1795
Materials:wood: mahogany and concealed woods
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Salem or Boston
Measurements:overall: 42 1/2 x 26 7/8 x 31 in.
Accession Number:  HD 1999.5.4
Credit Line:Gift in Memory of Charles Warner Hurst & Julia Bates Hurst

Lolling chair or armchair with an upholstered back with a serpentine top and upholstered over-the rail seat; exposed serpentine mahogany arm supports in a large molded C-scroll which are joined to the tops of the two straight, fluted front legs; and two flared rear legs that are joined by two straight plain side stretchers and a medial stretcher. Chairs of this general form were made in France and England during the early to mid eighteenth century. Although their popularity waned in Europe by the 1760s, it continued strongly here as the form developed into one with tall backs and freestanding slim, tapering wooden arms and legs. New England, especially Massachusetts, was the main center of production. The term "lolling" is suggestive of a genteel posture often pictured in period portraits, or as London's "Gentleman's Magazine" (1778, XLVIII, p. 587) notes: "two armed machine adapted to the indulgent purpose of lolling..." The chair is a fine, early example of the form, which was purchased by the Hursts in 1932 from antiques dealer Morris Schwartz of New York City.

Label Text:
Lolling chairs gained popularity toward the end of the 18th century, especially in Massachusetts, at a time when a relaxed posture became more popular. The connotations of "lolling" are captured in the 1778 edition of London's Gentleman Magazine in the description of a machine "adapted to the indulgent purpose of lolling." While lolling about might have been scowled upon by their more stern forebears, the soft upholstery and arm supports contributed to a comfortable and refined lifestyle for comsumers in the 18th and 20th centuries. In 1932, Charles and Julia Hurst purchase this example from New York antiques dealer Morris Schwartz for thier New Jersey home.

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