The tale of this chair's struggle to survive and the owners' concern for its preservation can be found in its cracked legs, missing moldings, and replaced splat and crest rail. Unique decorative features such as the dog-head arm terminals, sophisticated foliate carving on the knees, and hairy paw feet, suggest that it was made by the Scottish cabinetmaker Robert Walker who provided furniture to some of the most influential families in Virginia. It may have been one of a larger set of chairs owned by Augustine Washington (1720-1762), George Washington's half-brother, of "Wakefield" in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
Mahogany armchair with dog's head arm terminals, hairy paw feet, and replaced splat and crest rail; arched crest rail over carved and pierced vasiform splat; central strap of the splat crowned with a plume of Prince-of-Wales feathers enclosed within a loop formed at the top from two straps, which are flanked by two straps that terminate at the crest rail in carved volutes; four carved beads join the straps at the center of the splat, and a triangle is incised at the base of the central strap; outward curving stiles rounded at back; trapezoidal slip seat frame with horizontal shaping on the side rails, short, integral shoe on the back rail, and undercutting on base of front rail; rails tenoned into legs and back posts, secured with single pegs on the front, front side rails, and back rail, and with double pegs at the rear of the side rails; replaced corner blocks; shaped arms with dog-head terminals, dovetailed into the stiles and secured with a screw; arm supports attached to side rails with a coped joint secured with four screws aligned two over two, the two upper screws being countersunk in the rabbet of the slip seat; cabriole front legs with compressed hairy paw feet, ornamented with carved acanthus leaves that extend from the knee to halfway down the leg; metal "L" bars secured with screws reinforce the front legs; the raked-back rounded rear legs with square feet.
Trapezoidal slip seat frame upholstered in brown leather; the reverse covered in a hard, black synthetic material.
Overall (H x W x D): 39 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. x 21 in. (100.33 cm x 62.87 cm x 53.34 cm)
Gift of Dr. John L. Chamberlain, III, 1998
Chiseled on interior of back seat frame: "XII".
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