On April 17, 1790, Washington paid New York cabinetmaker Thomas Burling £7 for this ingeniously-engineered "Uncommon Chair." It combines the sleek, contemporary design of a French bergère en gondole (or barrel-back upholstered armchair) with a unique swivel mechanism that allows the circular seat to rotate on four bone rollers. Washington must have found the chair to be ergonomically pleasing, as he used it throughout his presidency and for the remainder of his life. Following his return to Mount Vernon in March 1797, he placed it in his Study along with the tambour secretary he acquired from John Aitken in Philadelphia. More






Mahogany, mahogany veneer (primary), white oak (secondary, frame), iron, metal, bone, leather, brass


Overall: 39 3/8 in. (100.01 cm)
Overall (Seat): 17 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. x 24 1/8 in. (44.45 cm x 62.87 cm x 61.28 cm)
Overall (arm to arm): 27 in. (68.58 cm)
Overall (front of seat to furthest part of back of chair)): 32 in. (81.28 cm)


Purchase, 1905

Object Number



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