When the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association received this chair in 1905, it was believed to have been given by the Marquis de Lafayette to George Washington who later gave it to Philadelphian Roger Bowman. In fact, its form and ornament is characteristic of neoclassical chairs produced by New York cabinetmakers at the end of the eighteenth century. Given its date and probable place of manufacture, it is unlikely that the chair belonged to either man.


Vase- or shield-back side chair with a bowed- or elliptic-front seat upholstered over the rails on square, tapered front legs. Carved and pierced splat with three ribs features five plumes (Prince of Wales design) above two fringed drapery swags suspended through spirals; lunette in pointed bottom carved with a two-tiered flower with nine pointed petals. Crest rail and stiles molded with beaded edges on front and rounded at back. Square, tapered, raked-back rear legs. Two medial braces half as deep as the rails are dovetailed from above. Two-part vertical front corner blocks; rounded single vertical rear corner blocks.

Upholstered over the rail in brown leather embossed with large-scale, abstract floral medallions.





Mahogany (primary), possibly cherry or mahogany (rear seat rail and medial braces), ash (front and probably side seat rails), pine (corner blocks)


Overall (H x W x D): 38 3/4 in. x 21 5/8 in. x 19 1/4 in. (98.43 cm x 54.93 cm x 48.9 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Joshua Henry Rathbone, Vice Regent for Michigan, 1905

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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