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Sack-back Windsor armchair with top extension

Probably Rhode Island



43-3/4 in x 23 in x 31-1/4 in


Chestnut (seat), unidentified ring-porous hardwoods

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Dr. Robert R. Hoopes and Frank M. Hoopes, Jr., in memory of their mother, Edna Sossaman Hoopes

Accession Number


Condition Notes

A four-inch-wide strip has been inserted in the seat board near the front.


Vast numbers of Windsor chairs were made in America, and fortunately many survive.  Detailed study of this furniture form over generations of interest documents consistent regional patterns of design and materials.  Use of chestnut to make the oval seat of this chair suggests manufacture in Rhode Island or Eastern Connecticut, the latter dominated by the Tracy family of makers, whose work typically displays strong, shapely baluster turnings on the legs, not evident on this chair.  It exhibits unusual features that separate it from most other Windsors and endear it to many a viewer.  The top extension supports a wavy crest that waves across the bottom, not just the top.  The result is much more lively.  Large projecting ears hang out in space and give it a joyful quality.  The considerable slant or rake of the back, enhanced by a somewhat higher bow forming the back, as well as the wavy-crest extension, invites a sitter to sit back and relax, instead of sitting upward to work or to participate in company.

The chair is painted a dark, nearly black, color, now worn in places.

This armchair is well-traveled.  According to an oral history of the donor, the chair came from the Corbit House, traveled to California with its owner, and was subsequently returned to the part of the family that remained in Delaware.  Because the chair originated in Rhode Island, the provenance is questionable and needs further verification.