Child's rocking chair
Probably Baltimore, Maryland
25-3/4 in x 16-5/8 in x 28-1/4 in
Tulip poplar, cane seat
Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Mrs. Alfred E. (Julia A.) Bissell
Some of the paint has been lost through delamination and mild wear.
The rocker was given to Winterthur in 1986 for use in the Odessa houses.
The painted decoration and turnings of this “tablet top” rocking chair, sized for a child, indicate an origin in the Baltimore area. The combination of a baluster turning and stacked rings, seen in the front legs and inverted in the back posts are particularly indicative. The painted decoration immediately evokes the high-style stenciled work for which Baltimore was known. However, the execution on this chair is free-hand, employing broad swatches and lacking the fine detail of finer sources. Nonetheless, the imagery and visual impact are clear.
Fashionably painted but inexpensive chairs like this rocker were called fancy chairs.