Library Step-Chair

about 1854–60
Augustus Eliaers (American, active 1849–1865)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Overall: 94.9 x 62.2 x 63.5 cm (37 3/8 x 24 1/2 x 25 in.) Other (Converted to library steps): 94.9 x 62.2 x 91.4 cm (37 3/8 x 24 1/2 x 36 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany; oak (secondary wood); original oil cloth upholstery

On View

David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)





See also 1976.762. Upholstered chair with carved decoration. The chair sits on four carved paw feet with cyma curved legs. The seat rail and “ears” of the crest rail are carved with grotesque maskes. The arms are carved with leafage. The oval back, arm rests, and the seat are upholstered. (The original green upholstery, now fragmentary, was surrounded by green braid and brass tacks.) Upholstery is a type of oil cloth.

With the release of a catch at back, the chair inverts on hinged arms to form five steps. In inverted position, the chair rests on the crest rail, front feet and bottom riser of steps).

An identical chair is in the Chicago Historical Society.


Crest rail is stamped "A. ELIAERS/PATENT." Fourth step riser is stamped "A. ELIAERS/PATENT" on one side and "12 CORNHILL/BOSTON" on the other.


Early history unknown; 1974, Museum purchase from C. C. Deininger Gallery, 206 Newbury Street, Boston, MA.

Credit Line

H. E. Bolles Fund