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Side chair (one of a set of three)

Odessa, Delaware

c. 1775


Attributed to John Janvier Sr. (1749–1801)


38 3/4 in x 21 1/4 in x 19 5/8 in


Mahogany; white cedar (corner blocks)

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: “III” (chair .2), “IIII” (.1), and “V” (.3); “Wm. CORBIT HOUSE / ODESSA, DELAWARE–1772” is on a metal tag attached to the underside of the rear seat rails.

Condition Notes

The ends of all of the legs have been restored to their original height.


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 comes from a set of six side chairs listed in William Corbit's 1818 inventory and in a division of his property between his remaining direct descendants in 1845.  They were valued lower than the more ornate mahogany chairs represented by acc. no. 1976.114.  Unlike that set, this chair and its set have side rails that tenon through the rear stiles as was so common in Philadelphia regional work, and the corner blocks are made of white cedar, a less expensive "secondary" wood than mahogany, and again a conventional practice.  Of particular interest, the splat pattern was cut from the same template (with slight variations within the overall pattern) as on the Janvier-made daybed, acc. no. 1974.58.

Chair 1976.115.2 was photographed.


Sweeney, Grandeur, 113, pl. 5.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 75.