Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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2017.42.7

Artist

Unknown Artist

Title

Side Chair

Creation Date

1660-1720

Century

mid-17th century - early 18th century

Dimensions

38 1/4 x 19 1/2 x 16 1/2 in. (97.16 x 49.53 x 41.91 cm)

Object Type

furniture

Creation Place

North America, American, New York

Medium and Support

cherry, turned and painted

Credit Line

Gift of Donald E. Hare, '51 and Ann F. Hare

Copyright

Public Domain

Accession Number

2017.42.7
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.

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