Mahogany, mahogany veneer, gilded gesso, brass with maple
33 3/8 x 18 x 19 1/4 in. (84.8 x 45.7 x 48.9 cm)
Purchase, The Sylmaris Collection, Gift of George Coe Graves, by exchange; and Bequest of Flora E. Whiting, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. Moore, and Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, by exchange, 1996
Not on view
This rare and beautiful version of the New York lyre-back chair, part of a large set once owned by the Baltimore merchant James Bosley, is firmly attributed to the French-born and -trained cabinetmaker Lannuier, who worked in New York City from 1803 until 1819. Compared with examples often attributed to the great Scottish master craftsman Duncan Phyfe, which survive in far greater number, Lannuier's lyre-back chair is more richly ornamented in gilded brass and has a hard-edged rectilinear quality closer to French Empire precedents. But it is not a slavish copy of a French design. The chair is a fresh and innovative variation on a theme that melds Lannuier's highly refined sensibilities with the New York vernacular.
Throughout his relatively short but brilliant career in the city, Lannuier cast himself as the French alternative to the illustrious Phyfe, who worked more in the English Regency style. This chair was acquired to serve as both a complement and a counterpoint to the Museum's preeminent collection of New York furniture made under Phyfe's influence.
Inscription: [inscribed behind front seat rail in cursive writing in chalk]: Mrs. Bosley [labeled on top of back rail]: C.F. MEISLAHN & Co. / 19 Clay St. BALTIMORE MD. / FINE FURNITURE, MANTELS, ARTISTIC DECORATIONS [inscribed on label in ink in cursive writing]: 7686, JPNW 1 chair