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 and a pierced and carved splat with drapery-swagged vase set between two slender colonettes with leaf-carved capitals and rosette-carved plinths. Serpentine-front seat with swelled sides is upholstered over the rails. 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 3/16 in. x 20 5/8 in. x 18 3/4 in. (94.46 cm x 52.39 cm x 47.63 cm)
Conservation courtesy of Mrs. John F. Bookout, III, Vice Regent for Texas, in honor of Mrs. Richard W. Call, former Vice Regent for California
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