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Armchair
1796
Furniture Maker:Armchair frame made by Lemuel Adams , American, working 1792 - 1800
Furniture Maker:Armchair originally upholstered by Jonathan Bright , American
Mahogany, chestnut, red morocco leather
Primary Dimensions (overall height x width x depth): 40 1/8 x 24 x 20 9/16in. (101.9 x 61 x 52.2cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Whitney L. Brooks
Description: Mahogany armchair in the Federal, or early neoclassical, style, with a shield-shaped back, an urn in the splat, tapered front legs, and over-the-rails upholstery. The back of the chair is shield-shaped, consisting of an arched crest rail with squared ends, at the top of U-shaped sides that curve down to a point at the bottom. The front of the shield is molded with two wide recessed flutes, flanked by incised bead molding. The splat, inside the shield-shaped back, consists of two curved ribs at the sides and top, each terminating at the top in a carved rosette, over an urn with seven raised reeds at the bottom. Below this is a conical panel, a fluted trapezoidal panel, and three curved ribs. At each side of the shield-shaped back, stiles extend down to form the back legs. Above the seat, the stiles and the back of the chair are slanted back slightly. Below the seat the stiles are angled back. Each arm slants down slightly and extends from the stile forward about half of the depth of the chair. The arm is supported at the front by a curved arm support that extends down and forward to the side rail, just behind the front leg. The front of the arm and arm support are molded with two wide recessed flutes, flanked by incised bead molding. The seat is trapezoidal, with a serpentine front and side seat rails that curve outward. It is partially upholstered, with a linen undercover tacked to the front and side seat rails. The front legs are tapered and extend from the height of the seat down to the foot. The front of each front leg is inlaid with a carrot, or tapered light wood inlay over a small bead, flanked by a thin line, over a wide horizontal band of light wood inlay at the ankle. The back and each side of the chair have a plain rectangular stretcher connecting the lower legs. A medial stretcher joins the two side stretchers. Condition: Portions of the stay rail are missing, in the center, where the splat joins the stay rail. The armchair is partially reupholstered; the linen undercover and probably the sackcloth are replaced, and the red morocco leather is not nailed to the chair. Some nail holes have been repaired along the front and side seat rails. The lower outer edges of each arm rest are well worn. The front lower portion of each front foot is repaired or replaced. The interior corner of the back right foot is repaired. Portions of the top of each front leg have been repaired, some sections of the top of the front right leg are missing. The diagonal brace at each interior front seat corner is replaced. Design and Construction Details: The crest rail is supported on a tenon at the top of each stile. Each stile forms a portion of the side of the shield-shaped back, and extends down to form the support for the back as well as the back leg. Above the seat, the back of the crest rail and each stile is rounded. The stay rail, which forms the lower center section of the shield-shaped back, is tenoned into the stiles. The splat is tenoned up into the crest rail and down into the stay rail. The back of each arm is screwed into the stile from the back; the screw is hidden with wood filler. The front of the arms are each supported on a tenon at the top of the arm support. These in turn are screwed into the side seat rail; the screws are inserted through the outside of the arm support and hidden behind round wooden plugs. The back seat rail and the back of each side seat rail are tenoned into the stiles. The back of the back seat rail is veneered with mahogany. The front seat rail and each side seat rail are constructed of a single piece of wood with a flat interior surface. The interior back corners of the seat frame have no corner blocks. The interior front corners of the seat frame each have a diagonal brace (replaced) that is probably dovetailed to the front and side seat rails. The back stretcher and each side stretcher is tenoned into the lower legs. The medial stretcher is tenoned into the side stretchers. Upholstery. The side chair has been partially reupholstered and is accompanied by a piece of red morocco leather that could be used to cover the seat (the brass nails are missing). At present, the seat is covered with a linen undercover (replaced), canvas, horsehair stuffing and linen sackcloth. The linen undercover and canvas are tacked to the outside of the seat rails. The sackcloth is tacked directly to the top of the seat rails.
Historical Note: This chair is one of a set of twenty made in 1796 by Lemuel Adams for the Senate Chamber of the Hartford State House.
Inscription: The top of the linen upholstery undercover has hand-written pencil drawings and inscriptions consisting of male and female busts facing each other, over "Joseph Wojtyna/ 1965 AUG 27".
Object Number: 1965.27.0a,b
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