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. Mrs. Washington's grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, later used it at his home, Arlington House. When Union troops threatened to confiscate it during the Civil War, a neighbor and free African-American, William Syphax, took possession of it. His descendants presented it to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
Black painted bow-back Windsor side chair with seven, three-part, bamboo-turned spindles, a shield-shaped seat, and four, splayed, three-part bamboo-turned legs joined by H-mounted stretchers. The continuous bow back is flat faced on front and rounded at back; its ends are tenoned through the seat and wedged. The spindles are tenoned into the seat and bow; six of the spindles, three on either side of the central spindle, extend through the bow and are wedged. The plank seat has a deep groove outlining the front of the spindle area. The bamboo-turned stretcher support has two-part, single-swell side stretchers and a three-part, very slight, double-swell medial stretcher.
Tulip poplar (seat), red maple (leg), paint
Overall (H x W x D): 36 5/8 in. x 19 5/8 in. x 18 in. (93.03 cm x 49.85 cm x 45.72 cm)
Bequest of Mary Gibson Hundley, 1986
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