Probably Coastal North Carolina, 1720-1770
Catalog no. 7
By 1700, urban New England chair makers had achieved substantial levels
of production. For example, between 1734 and 1746, John Underwood of Boston
made 6,180 turned chairs. Records reveal that some of these wares were
exported to other regions, including the coastal South.
The only banister-back chair presently attributed to the Carolina Low
Country, this example clearly reflects a southeastern North Carolina artisan's
efforts to emulate imported New England goods. The chair is reminiscent
of contemporary banister-back chairs from the Piscataqua region of coastal
New Hampshire and Maine and similar forms made in southern Connecticut.
Yet several features confirm its southern origin. Four distinctly turned
feet, in-curved arms, and the ornately turned rear stretcher represent
common southern approaches.
This chair suggests the manner in which regional styles were absorbed
and remolded by artisans working in different cultural contexts. Considered
in this light, the chair should not be regarded as a degenerated interpretation
of New England tradition; instead, it must be viewed as a North Carolina
chair with a strong New England accent.