Because easy chairs were expensive to upholster, only wealthier eighteenth-century Chesapeake households owned them. Estate inventories reveal these softly padded chairs with wings to protect from drafts were often placed in bedchambers, where the infirm, elderly, or even expectant and nursing mothers might use them. This particular easy chair, distinguished as the only American-made example with four cabriole legs terminating in claw-and-ball feet, belonged to George Washington's mother, Mary Ball Washington (1708-1789). Although she never used it at Mount Vernon or held her son in it as an infant (as was believed when purchased in 1910), its acquisition illustrates the reverence the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association had for her and the type of relic that formed the basis of Mount Vernon's collection in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Conservation done in 2005 uncovered remnants of its original upholstery foundation and showcloth - a vibrant red and mustard yellow wool damask smartly accented by contrasting blue-green wool tapes.


Easy chair with serpentine-arched crest, raked back, and serpentine wings with vertical cones supporting the arm terminals. Trapezoidal-shape seat upholstered over the front rail with loose cushion (modern). Four cabriole legs with rounded, shell-and-bellflower-carved knees terminate in claw-and-ball feet on casters (replaced). Volute-carved knee brackets (replaced).






Mahogany, beech, white oak


Overall: 46 1/8 in. x 30 1/2 in. x 30 1/8 in. (117.16 cm x 77.47 cm x 76.52 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds donated by the Detroit Mount Vernon Society, 1910
Conservation courtesy of the Monica and Hermen Greenberg Foundation

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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