38 1/4 x 19 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (97.16 x 49.53 x 41.91 cm)
North America, American, New York
Medium and Support
cherry, turned and painted
Gift of Donald E. Hare, '51 and Ann F. Hare
While the great chair exhibited nearby illustrates the joinery and intricate wood carving practiced by English immigrants in early America, this spindle-back chair represents an equally important branch of early Colonial furniture making: the wood turning traditions of Dutch settlers in the colony of New Netherland. This chair was most likely made in New Amsterdam (today’s New York)—where a small group of craftsmen called stoelendraaiers (“chair turners”) were active since the middle of the sixteenth century. Distinguished by the predominance of turned wood elements, from the ball-turned posts with turned finials (now missing), caps, and feet, to the elliptically-turned rails and spindles, this chair is an excellent representative of the type. The rush seat and use of cherry wood finished to look like ebony are equally characteristic of chairs made by New Netherland stoelendraaiers. The two stretchers at the front have been replaced, along with one on the right side.