During the time Washington spent in Philadelphia before and after the Revolution and during the Presidency, he came to appreciate the quality, style, and affordable price of the furnishings produced by its artisans. Pierced "slat-back" chairs were among the most popular offerings of Philadelphia cabinetmakers in the late eighteenth century. Washington may have purchased chairs such as this one to serve as plain but fashionable seating throughout the less formal rooms at Mount Vernon.
Pierced mahogany slat-back side chair with three serpentine cross-slats each with central circular piercing with a scalloped, pointed edge below, flanked by arched triangular piercings, below a matching crest rail with rounded ears; raked-back stiles, flat on front and rounded at back; trapezoidal seat frame upholstered over the rail in black horsehair, the underside covered with a black synthetic spun-bonded textile; straight square or marlborough front legs with casters, chamfered on inside rear corners; H-mounted stretchers, that at the back mounted higher; proper left side stretcher tenoned into front legs and back posts, double pegged at back and single pegged at front; medial stretcher joined to side stretchers with sliding dovetail and double pegged on proper left side; rear stretcher tenoned into back posts and double-pegged on proper left side and single pegged on proper right side; square back posts chamfered on their inside front corners below the seat rail; copper alloy plaque stamped "W 100" on the proper left rear leg.
Other terms for this design include: pretzel-back, ladder-back, loop-back, ribbon-back.
Overall (H x W x D): 35 1/2 in. x 21 1/8 in. x 19 3/8 in. (90.17 cm x 53.67 cm x 49.23 cm)
Bequest of Margaret B. Smith, to the memory of Henrietta Elizabeth Smith, Grandniece of Martha Washington, Daughter of Commodore John Dandridge Henley, and Wife of J. Bayard H. Smith, Esq., 1910
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