During the time George 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 "scroll'd splatt" 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.


Slat-back side chair with three pierced serpentine cross-slats looped at center below a matching crest rail with circular, sprigged ears, a trapezoidal seat frame beaded along its top edge, and straight, square or Marlborough front legs beaded on their outside corners joined by H-mounted stretchers and a rear stretcher mounted higher between the rear legs. Crest rail is beaded on the front on each end along its upper and lower edge, but not in the center, and rounded at back; raked-back stiles molded on the front and rounded at back; slats flat on both sides. Rear seat rail composed of board with applied top face, inscribed with a line along its top edges. Raked-back rear legs with through tenons and square feet; all legs chamfered on the inside corner. Quarter-round, vertical grain corner blocks in each corner; that at the proper left front is a replacement. Reinforcement rails screwed into the inside of the frame on all sides, with a space left to view mark at center of rear rail. Extensions have been added at the bottom of the front and back legs, and only the rear stretcher is above these additions, suggesting that at least the H-stretchers are replacements.

Other terms for this design include: pretzel-back, ladder-back, loop-back, ribbon-back.

Trapezoidal slip-seat frame upholstered in woven red checked linen; a black synthetic spun-bonded textile covers the bottom of the slip-seat.


1780 - 1800



Mahogany (primary), yellow pine, oak, cedar (secondary)


Overall (H x W x D): 38 1/2 in. x 22 1/2 in. x 20 5/8 in. (97.79 cm x 57.15 cm x 52.4 cm)
Other (Height and depth of seat): 17 1/8 in. x 17 9/16 in. (43.51 cm x 44.6 cm)
Other (Width at front of seat): 22 1/4 in. (56.52 cm)
Other (Width at back of seat): 17 5/8 in. (44.78 cm)
Other (Width at crest rail): 21 3/4 in. (55.25 cm)
Other (Height of extensions to rear legs): 6 1/4 in. (15.88 cm)

57.2 cm0 mm52.4 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball

Credit Line

Gift of Davy Henderson McCall, 2007


Chiseled on the inside of the rear seat rail: "III".

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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