Joined armchair, 1650–1700
Essex County, Massachusetts
36 1/2 x 23 x 16 3/4 in. (92.7 x 58.4 x 42.5 cm)
Purchase, Friends of the American Wing and Sansbury–Mills Funds, Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Goelet Gift, Mrs. Muriel Gluck Gift, in honor of Virginia and Leonard Marx, and The Max H. Gluck Foundation Inc., The Virginia and Leonard Marx Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Eric Martin Wunsch Gifts, 1995 (1995.98)
This armchair is massively proportioned, with thick, slightly tapering square columns on the front posts and solid, rectangular panels in the back. It was made by a joiner using the frame-and-panel method of construction. The severe outlines are softened somewhat by the slight crook to the arms and by the series of carved arches and lunettes in the upper sections of the back. Originally, a stuffed cushion would have graced the hard plank seat. Armchairs such as this were known as "great chairs" due to their large size and ceremonial quality—they were reserved for heads of household and important guests.