Rocking chair



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General Description

The rocking chair is one of the few furniture forms that is uniquely American in origin. At the turn of the century, urban elites like J. Pierpont Morgan and Alfred G. Vanderbilt outfitted their camps or rural retreats with rustic furniture like this rocking chair. Gnarled assemblages of branches, sticks, and bark functioned as statements on a simple and unpretentious way of life and appealed to tourists on wilderness excursions. Some pieces were produced by individual makers, while others were made in factory settings and sold, via catalogues, to consumers across the country as pieces suitable for indoor or outdoor use. The maker of this rocking chair fashioned exuberant arcs and loops of maple, hickory, and willow consistent with both rustic and late Victorian tastes. Probably designed for use in a hunting lodge or rural retreat, this chair successfully combines "rustic" design with physical comfort.

Adapted from

  • Charles Venable, DMA unpublished material.

  • Samantha Robinson, Label copy [1988.B.76], 2014 .