Side chair

about 1840–50

Object Place: New York, New York, United States


Overall: 118.7 x 50.2 x 46.4 cm (46 3/4 x 19 3/4 x 18 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Rosewood and possibly walnut; original upholstery

On View

Waleska Evans James Gallery (Gallery 236)




Seating and beds

Gothic Revival style. High backed chair with seat upholstered half way over seat rail and back upholstered in central panel. Front legs with gold ring turnings are tenoned into carved seat rail decorated with quatrefoils on corner blocks. Ogee rear legs continue upward to form back stiles which end in free-form scroll carving. Two wooden wafers on inside of each stile conceal pegs which hold chair back. Back crest rail has a high ogee arch with pierced quatrefoil in center and milk thistle bud finial.

Side chairs with high backs were an especially common Gothic Revival form, because their vertical lines accorded well with the upward thrust of medieval architectural ornament. The thistle-shaped crockets and finials at the top of this chair are based on architectural ornaments found on Gothic spires or gables.


Early history unknown. Given to the MFA in 1965. In 1971, the donor (Mr. Richard C. Hill) recalled that it came from a Victorian house, built in 1889, on Creston Avenue in Fordham, New York.

Credit Line

Gift by Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Hill