Courtesy Historic Derfield, Inc.

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Great Chair

Called great chairs because of their size, these turned armchairs were probably reserved for the head of the household. Emblematic of 17th-century taste in New England, the great chair as a form originated centuries earlier in northern Europe. By the 18th century, the proportions on these chairs were lighter with more slender posts and narrower seats. This early 18th-century example from the Connecticut River Valley has the representative turned elements, although they are neither as heavy nor as numerous as on earlier examples. As was typical, the handholds or pommels on the front posts repeat the flattened ball form in the finials. Although the seats on great chairs were usually rush, some were splint. This chair has a new rush seat, but the splint seat shown with it may be the original.

Date: 1700 - 1720 
Topic: Household 
Materials: Ash, rush, splint
Dimensions: H: 44 in.(111 cm.), W: 22.75 in.(57.7 cm.) 
Accession #: 2002.63

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