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Fancy armchair

Delaware or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

c. 1810

Measurements

34 in x 21 in x 19 1/4 in

Materials

Maple, rush seat

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Charles Lee Reese Jr.

Accession Number

1977.15

Donor

Gift of Charles Lee Reese Jr.

Inscription

"ANN JEFFERIS WILSON 1800” is engraved on a brass plaque attached to the back of the crest rail.

Condition Notes

The painted finish has worn off in several places.

Provenance

The chair was owned by Sara Clark Corbit (1871–1952), a daughter of Ann Jefferis Wilson, and then by her own daughter, Harriet Hurd Curtis (1903–1971), the wife of the donor.

Comments

A brass plaque, probably installed by Mrs. Mary Corbit Warner (1848–1923), who installed several other similar plaques on a variety of objects, identifies Ann Jefferis Wilson (1791–1822) as the original owner of this chair along with the date 1800.  The date is wrong--Ann was only 9 years old, but she married David Wilson Jr. in 1808 and was the mother of Sara Clark Corbit.  Stylistically, the chair suggests a date of about 1810.  Painted black with gold striping, it was advertised as a "Japanned" or "Fancy Japanned" chair, fashionable but not very expensive.  The horizonatal bars separated by balls forming slats across the chair back inspired the contemporary term of a "ball-back" chair.

Bibliography

Hotchkiss, “Wilson-Warner House,” 887, pl. III.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 163-164.