View Larger Bow-back Windsor chair


The last private owner of this chair stated he was "reasonably sure" it was owned by George Washington and that it had been part of the diverse collection of artistic, historical, and scientific curiosities at the Rembrandt Peale Museum in Baltimore. Its stylistic features, such as the molded continuous bow with nipped or pinched waist, plain tapered spindles, drooping cheeks of the seat, and bamboo-turned legs with swelled feet, suggest a Massachusetts origin. Whether or not it was owned by Washington is the subject of ongoing research.


Bow-back Windsor side chair with seven plain, tapered spindles, a shield-shaped, saddled seat, and four splayed, three-part, bamboo-turned legs with swelled-taper feet joined by H-mounted stretchers. The continuous bow back is molded on the front and rounded at back and nips in to form a short waist just above the seat; its ends are tenoned through the seat and wedged. The spindles are tenoned through the seat and the bow; six of the spindles, three on each side of the center spindle, extend through the bow and are wedged. The plank seat has a slight pommel at front center and a deep groove outlines the spindle areas of the seat. Each leg is tenoned into the seat and wedged. On the proper left legs, a shallow line is incised around the leg at the level of the stretchers. On the proper right legs, a shallow line is incised around the leg just below the seat. The bamboo-turned stretcher support has two-part, single-swell side stretchers and a three-part, double-swell medial stretcher. Traces of a succession of finishes (yellow and green) are visible on all parts of the chair and splatters of red paint are present on the underside of the seat.





White pine (seat), oak (bow), ash or hickory (legs and stretchers)


Overall (H x W x D): 37 1/4 in. x 20 in. x 16 1/4 in. (94.62 cm x 50.8 cm x 41.28 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1940

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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