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Side chair (one of a set of three)

Odessa, Delaware

c. 1775


Attributed to John Janvier Sr. (1749–1801)


38 7/8 in x 23 1/4 in x 21 in



Credit Line

On loan from Winterthur, bequest of Mrs. Earle R. Crowe

Accession Number



Chair numbers chiseled into the top center of the front rail are: “II” (chair .3), “IIII” (.2), and “V” (.1); “Wm. CORBIT HOUSE / ODESSA, DELAWARE–1772” is on a metal tag attached to the underside of the rear rails.

Condition Notes

The shoe holding the base of the splat has been repaired.  Carving on the splat has been abraded, and small volutes terminating raised C scrolls in the crest have been removed from the inside of the bead along the top.


The chairs descended from William Corbit (1746–1818) to Daniel Corbit in 1845, to Daniel Wheeler Corbit in 1877, to Sara Corbit Levis, and to Mrs. Earle R. Crowe.


This chair was originally from a set of six side chairs and two armchairs (one now at Winterthur, acc. no. 1961.806) that was divided between the two living direct descendants of William Corbit in 1845.  The chair exhibits many Philadelphia characteristics but uses a splat design of distinctly English origin.  Among construction features that depart from typical Philadelphia regional characteristics, the side rails are not tenoned through the rear stiles.  Also, the original corner blocks are made of mahogany, not a less expensive secondary wood as was almost always the case.

Chair 1976.114.2 was photographed.


Sweeney, Grandeur, 112, pl. 4.

Sweeney, “Corbit-Sharp House,” 878–79, pls. III–IV.

Philip D. Zimmerman, “Workmanship as Evidence: A Model for Object Study,” Winterthur Portfolio 16, no. 4 (Winter 1981): 300, 304–5.

Philip D. Zimmerman, “Labeled Randolph Chairs Rediscovered,” in American Furniture 1998, ed. Luke Beckerdite, 89–94 (Milwaukee, Wis.: Chipstone Foundation, 1998).

Zimmerman, “Queen Anne and Chippendale Chairs,” 335–36.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 73-74.