Armchair

DATE:
1740–1760
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Walnut and silk upholstery (replaced)
CLASSIFICATION:
Furnishings
DIMENSIONS:
42 1/8 × 32 × 22 in. (107 × 81.28 × 55.88 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Decorative Arts and Design
LOCATION:
American Art - 18th Century, Level 4
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Shutt
OBJECT NUMBER:
1985.B.14

General Description

Like the Newport side chair [1985.B.15], also in the The Bybee Collection Collection of American Furniture at the Dallas Museum of Art, the undulating lines of this chair mark a change from earlier, more linear forms of furniture made of turned elements and flat panels, to a far more complex assembly of sawn and richly carved elements. This armchair, with its scrolled arms, multiple shell carvings, and vividly grained walnut, would have been a terrifically expensive luxury item when it was new, affordable only to prosperous merchants and landowners. One of the wealthiest cities in colonial America and, correspondingly, a leading center of fashionable cabinetwork, Philadelphia provided talented cabinetmakers the opportunity to produce exceptionally fine examples of furniture.

Adapted from

Kevin W. Tucker, DMA unpublished material, Label text (1985.B.14), 2006.

Fun Facts

This chair exemplifies the most refined and expensive cabinetwork of Philadelphia. Its high cost was due to the use of expensive material like walnut and imported fabric. It was also very labor intensive since the chairmaker had to saw out and smooth by hand approximately twenty parts before assembly could begin.