Federal Shield-Back Chair

Chippendale Side Chairs
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Federal Shield-Back Chair

I always admired the original of this chair, which can be seen at the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts. The chair was made by an unknown maker, but was carved, and likely designed, by noted Salem architect and carver, Samuel McIntire. I built two of these chairs to coincide with the Samuel McIntire exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum, in the fall of 2007. This chair must have been a popular design in the 1800's as there are several surviving examples based on the same “urn and drapery” basic design, but with varying ornamentation. Some versions have ebony or ebonized feet. The most refined examples, including those thought to have been made for the Derby family of Salem, have grape clusters carved on the front legs as well as in the splat. The upholstery is haircloth, a historically correct fabric made with a horsehair weave and cotton weft.

Materials:

mahogany, yellow birch (seat rails)

Finish:

shellac (ebonized feet)

Dimensions:

38 H x 21 W x 18 D