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Glenn Adamson
The Politics of the Caned Chair

American Furniture 2002

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Walnut. H. 44 5/8", W. 20 1/16", D. 21 3/8". (Courtesy, Wadsworth Atheneum of Art; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Ruben Moulthrop, portrait of an unknown man, New England, 1770–1790. Oil on canvas. (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Armchair, England, 1660–1670. Beech. H. 53 1/2", W. 25", D. 22 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Side chair, England, 1690–1700. Beech. H. 50", W. 18 1/8", D. 19 3/4". (Courtesy, Yale University Art Gallery.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Detail of the back of the side chair illustrated in fig. 4.

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Benjamin Franklin, The Colonies Reduced, designed and engraved for The Political Register, December 1768. (Courtesy, Print Collection, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.) This satire of the Stamp Act attacks Britain’s mercantilist strategy of preventing the colonies from trading among themselves.

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Josiah Child, attributed to John Riley, England, ca. 1680–1690. Oil on canvas. 40 1/2" x 34 5/8". (Courtesy, National Portrait Gallery.)

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    The Third Earl of Shaftesbury, engraving after a painting by John Closterman, London, ca. 1700. Ink on paper. Dimensions not recorded. (Courtesy, National Portrait Gallery.)

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    The First Earl of Shaftesbury, London, 1673. Ink on paper. Dimensions not recorded. (Courtesy, Print Collection, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.)

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Armchair, England, 1670–1680. Dimensions and woods not recorded. (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum Decorative Arts Photographic Collection, R. W. Symonds Collection.)

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Side chair, England, 1710–1720. Walnut. H. 44 5/8", W. 20 1/4", D. 21 1/2". (Courtesy, Wadsworth Atheneum of Art, Wallace Nutting Collection, Gift of J. P. Morgan; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) The front legs have been pieced below the break in the knee.

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Detail of the crest of the chair illustrated in fig. 11.

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Detail of the right front leg of the chair illustrated in fig. 11.

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the “I” stamps on the chair illustrated in fig. 1

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the “I” stamps on the chair illustrated in fig. 23

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the “I” stamps on the chair illustrated in fig. 24

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the “I” stamps on the chair illustrated in fig. 25

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the “I” stamps on the chair illustrated in fig. 30

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the “I” stamps on the chair illustrated in fig. 35

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Side chair, England, 1685–1710. Beech. H. 51 7/8", W. 18 1/4", D. 15 1/4". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Side chair, England, 1685–1710. Beech with pine. H. 50 1/2", W. 17 1/2", D. 20". (Courtesy, New Hampshire Historical Society.)

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Side chair, England, 1710–1720. Beech. H. 48", W. 17 1/2", D. 14". (Courtesy Jeffrey Tillou; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Detail of the stamp on the side chair illustrated in fig. 17.

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Detail of the crest of the side chair illustrated in fig. 1.

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1705–1715. Maple with red oak. H. 38 3/8", W. 17 3/4", D. 14 3/8". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Side chair, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1715–1725. Maple. H. 41", W. 18 3/4", D. 16". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail showing the back of the crest of the chair illustrated in fig. 1.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Armchair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Maple. H. 50 3/4", W. 23 3/8", D. 16 3/8". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Soft maple with oak. H. 45 1/4", W. 18", D. 14 1/4". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Maple. H. 45 1/2", W. 18", D. 14 1/4". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Detail of the crest of the chair illustrated in fig. 25.

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Side chair, Boston or Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1715–1725. Maple. H. 42 1/2", W. 18 1/2", D. 15". (Courtesy, Ipswich Historical Society; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Detail of the right front foot of the chair illustrated in fig. 27.

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Detail of the crest of the chair illustrated in fig. 27.

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Maple. H. 45", W. 17 1/2", D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Detail of the crest of the chair illustrated in fig. 30.

  • Figure 32
    Figure 32

    Detail of the back of the crest of the chair illustrated in fig. 30.

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Armchair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Maple. H. 46 3/8", W. 24 1/2", D. 22". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg.)

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1710–1720. Maple. H. 43 1/4", W. 17 1/2", D. 14 5/8". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Edes.)

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Side chair, Boston area of Massachusetts, 1715–1725. Maple. H. 45 1/4", W. 18", D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 36
    Figure 36

    Detail of the back of the chair illustrated in fig. 35.

  • Figure 37
    Figure 37

    Detail of the front stretcher of the chair illustrated in fig. 35.

  • Figure 38
    Figure 38

    Side chair, Boston, Massachusetts, ca. 1740. Walnut and walnut veneer with maple and white pine. H. 38 1/2", W. 20 3/4", D. 18 1/2". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 39
    Figure 39

    Armchair, Boston, Massachusetts, 1700–1715. Maple. H. 50 3/4", W. 25 3/4", D. 27". (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)