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Probably Philadelphia



32-1/2 in x 21-1/2 in x 23-1/2 in


Mahogany; ash (seat rails)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, The David Wilson Mansion, Inc.

Accession Number



“MARY C. WILSON 1846” is engraved into a brass alloy tag attached to the outside of the rear seat rail.

Condition Notes

A section of veneer is missing from the front seat rail.  The velvet upholstery, which may be original, has darkened and discolored from its original red color in most places.  There is a 3-inch split in the velvet on the left rear of the seat.  Silk tape or gimp has become threadbare in places.


Ex coll. Mrs. E. Tatnall (Mary Corbit) Warner.  The chair resembles some other furniture, notably a dry sink or washstand, accession no. 1971.646, also bearing an engraved brass tag, that likely was part of Mrs. Warner’s childhood household furnishings.


This armchair, upholstered in a deep red velvet, is readily recognizable as “Victorian.”  It embodies many points of interest that help refine that designation.  The curved and rolled-back crest atop a flared chair-back, for example, has few antecedents in American furniture history, but it likely derives from some French neoclassical chair design.  The arms supported by baluster turnings represent a convention of long standing.  The bowed front seat rail has ready prototypes in some American neoclassical seating, as do the turned front legs, which retain their original brass casters.  Unlike most American walnut furniture of Victorian times, this chair is made of mahogany. Of note, the front seat rail has book-matched veneers of figured mahogany, and the side and rear rails are mahogany veneered.  The springs used to upholster the seat look original and represent an early use. 

The chair likely furnished a parlor or perhaps a bedroom in Mrs. Warner's childhood home.