After the Revolution, many Americans cultivated a taste for the goods offered by their most important ally - France. As president, George Washington encouraged this trend by furnishing the executive residence with French furniture, ceramics, and glassware, many of which he purchased from the departing minister, the Comte de Moustier, in 1790. This type of armchair with open sides below the arms and a straight (as opposed to concave) back is known in France as a "fauteuil à la reine," literally meaning the Queen's style chair. Chairs of this form were typically painted, highly polished with gilt highlights, or entirely gilded.
Carved and polished Louis XVI armchair or "fauteuil à la reine;" the upholstered "montgolfière" or balloon-shaped back on fluted back supports; the front of the seat back and bottom edge of the front and side seat rails are carved with a border of tulips or leaves; the straight arms have upholstered pads, are decorated with carved imbrications or overlapping scales along their length, and end in scrolled arm terminals on concave-curved supports carved with acanthus above stop-fluted blocks; the D-shaped, rounded-front seat is upholstered above the molded and carved seat rails, which are joined by four stile blocks, the two at front with inset carved rosettes and the two at back are faceted; four turned, tapered, fluted legs with spool-turned tops and brass caps screwed onto cylindrical feet; back of the crest rail, stay rail, and stiles left plain; the back joints where the crest rail meets the stiles are reinforced by metal plates screwed into the frame.
Upholstered with a brocaded peach and cream striped silk; a double row of piping in self-fabric outlines the edges of the back, seat, and armrests; sprung seat.
Overall (H x W x D): 37 1/2 in. x 24 in. x 18 3/4 in. (95.25 cm x 60.96 cm x 47.63 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David H. Stockwell, 1969
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