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Roger Gonzales and Daniel Putnam Brown, Jr.
Boston and New York leather Chairs: A Reappraisal

American Furniture 1996

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Side chair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 43 5/8", W. 17 5/8", D. 14 3/4". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Side chair, Boston, 1650–1700. Maple and oak. H. 36", W. 18", D. 15 1/4". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Side chair, Boston, 1685–1700. Maple and oak. H. 35 1/2", W. 18 1/2", D. 18 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Side chair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 44 1/2", W. 18 3/8", D. 16". (Courtesy, Saint Louis Art Museum, gift of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Nusrala.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Side chair, Boston, 1710–1720. Maple and oak. H. 47 1/2", W. 18", D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Composite detail showing (from top to bottom) the front stretchers of the (a) late seventeenth-century, Boston low-back chair illustrated in fig. 3; (b) first-generation Boston leather chair illustrated in fig. 1; (c) second-generation Boston leather chair illustrated in fig. 5. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.) The armchair illustrated in fig. 25 has an identical rear stretcher of the same dimensions as those illustrated here.

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Armchair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple and oak; original leather upholstery. H. 47 1/4", W. 23 1/2", D. 22 3/8". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Arthur Tracy Cabot Fund.)

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Side chair, probably London, 1685–1700. Woods and dimensions unrecorded. (Photo, Symonds Collection, Decorative Arts Photographic Collection, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Detail of the hollow back of the side chair illustrated in fig. 29. (Courtesy, Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection.)

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Side chair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 47 5/8", W. 17 3/4", D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) The carving on this chair is closely related to that on the New York side chair and New York armchair illustrated in figs. 23 and 24 and the Boston armchair illustrated in fig. 25.    

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Side chair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 46", W. 17 3/4", D. 15". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) The rear legs have been improperly restored to incorporate the backward rake.

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Side chair, Boston, 1710–1715. Maple and oak. H. 47 3/8", W. 18", D. 14 3/4". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Side chair, Boston, 1710–1715. Maple and oak. H. 48", W. 18", D. 14 3/4". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) This chair retains the first-generation feature of a slit crest rail.

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the carved crest rail of the chair illustrated in fig. 12. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Detail of the carved crest rail of the chair illustrated in fig. 13. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Detail of the construction of the side chair illustrated in fig. 11, showing the planed surfaces of the front leg squares and overhang of the front stretcher. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Diagram showing how the seat rails and stretchers join the front and rear legs on first- and second-generation Boston chairs.

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Detail of the side chair illustrated in fig. 11, showing the characteristic chamfering on the rear legs of first- and second-generation Boston chairs. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Side chair, New York, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 44 3/8", W. 17 3/4" , D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) This chair was found in Newburgh, New York.

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Side chair, New York, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 44 3/8", W. 17 3/4" , D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) This chair was found in Newburgh, New York.

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Detail of the front stretcher of the side chair illustrated in fig. 19. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.) The characteristic elements are the extra balls on the outer ends. See also figs. 20, 24, and 28.

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Diagram showing how the seat rails and stretchers join the front and rear legs on New York chairs.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Side chair fragment, New York City, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 38", W. 17 3/4", D. 14 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.) This chair was found in Greenwich, Connecticut.

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Armchair, New York City, 1700–1710. Maple with oak. H. 52", W. 24 3/4", D. 17 1/2". (Courtesy, Chipstone Foundation; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Armchair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple with oak. H. 53 3/4", W. 23 7/8", D. 16 3/8". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, gift of Mrs. Charles L. Bybee; photo, Edward A. Bourdon, Houston, Texas.)

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Gateleg table, New York City, 1690–1720. Mahogany with maple, yellow poplar, and oak. H. 28 7/8"; top: 40 3/4" x 44 1/2" (open). (Courtesy, Museum of the City of New York www.mcny.org, gift of the Reynal family; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Armchair, New York, 1700–1710. Maple with oak and hickory. H. 47 1/2", W. 25 1/2", D. 27". (Courtesy, Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, New York.) The feet are replaced and the finials are incorrectly restored.

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Armchair, New York, 1680–1700. Maple stained red. H. 44 1/4", W. 22 1/2", D. 22 1/4". (Private collection; photo, Christopher Zaleski.)

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Side chair, Boston, 1700–1725. Maple, oak, leather. H. 45 5/8", W. 18 1/8", D. 15 1/4". (Courtesy, Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, L192.116; photo, Richard Eells.)

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Side chair, Boston, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 46 3/4", W. 18", D. 14 3/4". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Side chairs, possibly New Hampshire, 1700–1710. Maple and oak. H. 47 1/2", W. 17 3/4", D. 15". (Private collection.)