Skip to main content
Search the Collection

Bow-back Windsor armchair

Southern New Jersey or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



37 5/8 in x 21 1/4 in x 17 1/4 in


Tulip poplar (seat), oak* (bow), hickory* (spindles), cherry* (arms and arm supports), maple* (legs), and ash* (medial stretcher)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Sara Corbit Reese Pryor

Accession Number



“Wm. CORBIT HOUSE / ODESSA, DELAWARE – 1772” is stamped into a metal tag applied to the underside of the seat.

Condition Notes

The left arm is repaired at the join to the back hoop and where the arm support tenons into the seat.


The chair descended in the Corbit family to Daniel Wheeler Corbit (1843–1922), to Sara Corbit Levis (1871–1952), to Harriet Hurd Curtis (1903-1971), mother of the donor.


This unmarked Windsor armchair descended in the Corbit family and, as a later plaque attests, was likely owned originally by William Corbit.  Because few Windsor chairmakers worked in Delaware when this chair was made, it likely originated in Philadelphia or environs.  The mix of woods includes arms made of cherry, a less expensive substitute for mahogany, which may indicate an origin outside of Philadelphia.  All of the turnings are bamboo-shaped, a stylish innovation in Windsors that imitated exotic Asian seating made of real bamboo.  The nine spindles spaced across the back envelop the sitter. Thin brown paint on the chair appears to be the only layer present, but the chair may have been stripped of earlier paint before the current color was applied.


Sweeney, Grandeur, 112.

Sweeney, “Corbit-Sharp House,” 877, pl. II.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 160.