Spindle-back armchair

Date: 1640–80

Geography: Possibly made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States; Possibly made in Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Ash

Dimensions: 44 3/4 x 23 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (113.7 x 59.7 x 40 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 1951

Accession Number: 51.12.2


This armchair is the product of the turner's craft—every element, save the plank seat, was shaped with chisels and gouges while it spun, or turned, on a lathe. The tiers of tapered spindles in the front, sides, and back create a virtual screen around the sitter and help temper the massive proportions of the front and back posts.