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Maker(s):Spencer Workshops (attributed)
Date Made:ca. 1740
Materials:wood, paint, rush
Place Made:United States; Connecticut; Hartford
Measurements:overall: 50 1/2 in x 23 in x 19 3/4 in; 128.27 cm x 58.42 cm x 50.165 cm
Accession Number:  HD P.435
Credit Line:Lucius D. Potter Memorial Collection
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Bannister-back armchair with rush seat, covered overall with black and gold paint, attributed to the Spencer family workhop of Hartford, Connecticut. This chair was made in the shop tradition of Obadiah Spencer, Jr. (1666-1741) in Hartford, whose grandfathers were Thomas Spencer (1607-1687), Hartford's leading turner during the seventeenth century, and Nicholas Disbrowe (1612-1683), the principal leading joiner. This chair provides a link to the later banister back chairs made in Deerfield by Zadock King (1725-1769) and his successors. Zadock King, Obadiah Spencer's grand nephew, probably learned his trade from his older brother, Parmenas King (1713-1800), who trained under Obediah and was an important joiner who worked in various Valley towns including Deerfield on the Elijah Williams house. Amelia Miller has documented Parmesas as a probable maker of elaborate Georgian doorways in the Connecticut Valley. Zadock King worked in the Deerfield area and died in Deerfield in 1769; his estate listed both joiner's and turner's tools. The armchair has a solid arched crest rail; four turned banisters with the round side facing forward; shaped bottom rail; gilded ball finials on a vase shape over the two turned side rails; two plain arms ending in scrolled handhold; rush seat; turned front posts ending in small peg feet; high front stretcher with two turned ball in the center; and three turned side and back stretchers. The chair was originally painted red and later repainted black and gold, which was possibly added to compete with the fancy chairs being manufacured in the nineteenth century by Hitchcock and others.

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