Side Chair

Date: 1790–1800

Geography: Possibly made in Hartford, Connecticut, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Mahogany, chestnut, poplar

Dimensions: 39 3/4 x 21 x 21 3/8 in. (101 x 53.3 x 54.3 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.223


The design for this urn-back chair is based on plate 6 of George Hepplewhite's Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide (London, 1788 and 1794). The turned and carved front legs, unusual on surviving American chairs based on Hepplewhite's designs, appears on a chair with a different shaped back shown in plate 5 of the revised 1794 edition of the Guide. The composition of this Hartford chair reveals the way its maker, or his patron, chose to mix and match features from two different designs in the same pattern book. While the existence of this distinctive chair strongly suggests the presence of Hepplewhite's Guide in Hartford in the late eighteenth century, credence is added to such a supposition by an ad placed in the Hartford Courant on December 9, 1799, by the booksellers Hudson & Goodwin that listed "the Cabinet-Makers' Guide" among a variety of titles they had "…lately received from London, Dublin, and elsewhere."