Cane great chair

About 1700–10

Object Place: London, England


134.62 x 58.42 x 44.13 cm (53 x 23 x 17 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Walnut, cane

On View

Burton A. Cleaves Gallery (Gallery LG27)




Seating and beds

Armchair with cane back and seat within molded frame. Crest rail is high flat-topped arch, formed by two broken cyma curves; the stay rail, a flattened inverted version; shaped arms with scrolled terminals over turned supports with inverted lobed vase. Canted rear legs are rounded between blocks joining seat and stretchers. Front legs are turned with ball lobed vase, ring, and blocks, and terminate in brush feet; block and baluster rear, side and cross stretcher of elaborate carved C-scrolls. “CC” and “RS” found on the back rails.

This armchair with an arched, molded crest rail; carved front stretcher; and fluted, baluster-shaped front legs is from a set of twelve ordered from London by Hezekiah Wyllys, secretary of the Connecticut Colony. English caned chairs were imported into the colonies in fairly large quantities and inspired American examples, such as the rush-seated chair on the right. Compare the carving of the front low stretcher on the London chair with the similar carving on the crest rail of the American example.


Owned originally by Hezekiah Wyllys (1672-1741), secretary of the Connecticut colony; his son, George Wyllys (1710-1796); his son, Hezekiah Wyllys (1747-1827). Sold by the estate of Colonel Philip Wainwright, Hartford, Connecticut, to Harry Arons (dealer), Ansonia, Connecticut. Samaha Antiques, Milan, Ohio; 1978, sold by Samaha Antiques to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 18, 1978)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously