Like their contemporaries, George and Martha Washington used attractive, durable, and relatively inexpensive Windsor chairs in a variety of spaces. The household inventory taken after George Washington died records 30 placed outside on the Mansion's piazza, with another 10 in a first-floor parlor and 5 more in two upstairs bedrooms. This chair may be one of those owned by the Washingtons. It retains traces of an early yellow finish in the grooves of its bamboo-turned legs and stretchers, so-called because their form imitates the plant's segmented stalks.
Black or dark-green painted bow-back Windsor side chair with nine, three-part, bamboo-turned spindles, a shield-shaped, saddled seat, and four, splayed, three-part, bamboo-turned legs joined by H-mounted stretchers. The continuous bow back is beaded along the edges of its flat front face and rounded at back; its ends are tenoned through the seat and wedged. The spindles are tenoned into the seat and bow; the center seven extend through the bow and are wedged. The plank seat has a slight pommel at front center and a deep groove outlining the front of the spindle area. Each leg is tenoned through the seat and double-wedged. The bamboo-turned stretcher support has two-part, single-swell side stretchers and a three-part, double-swell medial stretcher. Remnants of yellow or ochre paint are present in the grooves of the spindles, legs, and stretchers, as well as the groove at the back of the seat.
Two nails are driven into the underside of the seat near the back.
Tulip poplar (seat), oak (bow), red maple (leg), paint
Overall (H x W x D): 36 1/4 in. x 20 1/4 in. x 21 7/8 in. (92.08 cm x 51.44 cm x 55.56 cm)
Gift of Mary Custis Lee, 1916
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