In the early nineteenth century, cabinetmakers and their customers referred to high-back, upholstered armchairs as lolling chairs, intended for "lolling" or reclining in a relaxed posture. Antiquarians later dubbed them "Martha Washington" chairs, perhaps in honor of their regal simplicity and distinctly American form. This chair is a fine example of a design favored in Massachusetts. It has no associations with the Washington family.


Hollow- or concave-back upholstered lolling chair with straight crest, canted stiles, D-shaped seat, and molded, serpentine arms and arm supports on molded, square, tapering front legs and raked-back, outward-flaring rear legs. The arm supports and front legs are of one piece. Casters have been added to all the legs, but do not appear to be original.

Back and seat upholstered over the rails in neutral-colored cotton printed with a polychrome, large-scale, Indian-inspired floral. Black cotton covers the underside of the seat frame.


c. 1805



Mahogany (primary)


Overall (H x W x D): 43 7/8 in. x 24 1/4 in. x 19 1/4 in. (111.46 cm x 61.6 cm x 48.9 cm)

Credit Line

Mount Vernon Collection

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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