This brilliantly conceived and handsomely executed chair derives its broad, deeply curved crest tablet from the ancient Greek klismos form, and its turned front legs from Roman prototypes. During the James Madison administration (1809–17), the architect Benjamin Latrobe designed a suite of painted furniture for the White House in the latest Grecian style. Although the suite was destroyed in a fire in 1814, drawings for it bearing Latrobe’s instructions to the Baltimore fancy chair makers John and Hugh Finlay still exist and provide the basis for this chair's attribution. Originally part of a larger set, this chair was once used by Arunah S. Abell, founder of the "Baltimore Sun," in his country house "Wood bourne." The Metropolitan owns four chairs (65.167.5, .6, .8, .9) from the set. Others are in the collections of the High Museum, Atlanta; the Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Munson Williams Proctor Institute, Utica, New York.
Arunah S. Abell, Baltimore; his granddaughter, Mrs. Fenwick; Norton Asner Antiques, Baltimore, until 1965