Just weeks before his second term as President ended in March 1797, Washington purchased "2 doz chairs & 2 sideboards" from Philadelphia cabinetmaker John Aitken. Washington shipped the stylish furniture to Mount Vernon, where it graced his newest and most public room, the two-story dining room. This well-proportioned side chair, one of the twenty-four from Aitken, superbly complements the grand space, which Washington lavishly adorned with neoclassical architectural motifs. The chair's delicately carved, elliptic-cornered square back with urn splat derives from designs by the English furniture designer Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806), while its square, tapered front legs also appear on chairs made by his contemporary, George Hepplewhite (1727-1786). Brass tacks in a swag pattern punctuate the seat's tight curves and highlight its sumptuous green silk damask cover.
Square-back side chair having a bead-molded, elliptic-cornered crest rail with leaf-carved tablet at top center, a pierced and carved splat with drapery-swagged vase set between two slender colonettes with leaf-carved capitals and rosette-carved plinths, a serpentine-front seat with swelled sides upholstered over the rail, and line-inlaid, square, tapered front legs joined by H-mounted stretchers. Canted bead-molded stiles with chamfered back edges and rear heels shaved on outside.
Mahogany, light wood inlay (primary), secondary not currently visible
Overall (H x W x D): 37 1/4 in. x 19 in. x 20 1/2 in. (94.62 cm x 48.26 cm x 52.07 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Harold Kersten, 1961
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