Armchair

1812–17
Possibly by Thomas Seymour (American (born in England), 1771–1848)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

Overall: 88.3 x 55.6 x 48.9 cm (34 3/4 x 21 7/8 x 19 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

27.528

Medium or Technique

Mahogany with ebonized veneer inlays, maple, modern upholstery

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Seating and beds

The rectangular top rail overhangs at the sides and is inlaid with a panel of crotch mahogany framed with a string of black dyed mahogany. The lower rail is inlaid with a black diamond, and the curved stiles with long black drops. Similar black diamonds decorate the upper surfaces of the scrolled arms. The seat is upholstered over the rails. The sabre front legs have inlaid drops in black and complement the outward curve of the rear legs.


According to family tradition, James and Hepzibah Swan of Dorchester, Massachusetts, originally owned this chair. The ebonized inlays on the legs and arms are an unusual touch. Swan, a Boston merchant, built up a lucrative trade during the French Revolution by importing essential goods to France and exporting to America fine furnishings confiscated from the French nobility by the new republic. Some of these furnishings may be seen in the Museum’s European galleries.

Provenance

James (1754-1830) and Hepzibah Swan of Dorchester, Mass.; gift of his descendent, Elizabeth Howard Bartol (Accession Date September 8, 1927)

Credit Line

Swan Collection—Bequest of Miss Elizabeth Howard Bartol