Leather great chair

About 1700–10
Carving attributed to Jean Le Chevalier (American, born in France about 1670)

Object Place: New York, New York


136.5 x 60.6 x 41.6 cm (53 3/4 x 23 7/8 x 16 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, oak

Not On View




Seating and beds


According to an unsigned statement dated 1906 in the files of the antique furniture dealers Israel Sack, Inc., then of Boston, this chair "was given to the Rev. John Chester of Albany by one of his parishioners. John Chester gave it to his Sister, Elizabeth Chester, who gave it to her old nurse, after whose death it was hunted up and secured by Letitia C. Backus. At her death it was left to her Grandson John Chester Backus Pendleton." Benno Forman noted that "this chair is also sometimes erroneously referred to as the 'Synod of Dort Chair' because of a persistent legend that it was used at that convocation in 1612. Part of the legend attached to it also asserts that it 'was brought over to this country by one of the old Dutch families.'" (See Benno M. Forman, American Seating Furniture, 1630-1730: An Interpretive Catalogue [New York: W.W. Norton, 1988), p. 288ff.); 1972, acquired by the noted Texas collectors Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bybee and damaged in a fire in 1973 in their Houston home; 1980, given by Mrs. Charles L. Bybee to the MFA (Acquisition date: October 15, 1980).

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Charles L. Bybee