Banister-back chair

Date: 1715–35

Geography: Possibly made in Massachusetts, United States; Possibly made in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Maple

Dimensions: 47 1/2 x 21 x 15 3/4 in. (120.7 x 53.3 x 40 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Screven Lorillard, 1952

Accession Number: 52.195.8


This chair epitomizes the attenuated proportions, dynamism, and vertical thrust of early Baroque, or William and Mary, style seating furniture. The back consists of dramatically turned split banisters that were turned on a lathe, split in two, and positioned with the flat side facing the sitter's back. A carved and pierced crest rail continues the vertical sweep of the back while playing off the carved "Spanish" feet that resemble a fluted scroll or an inverted paintbrush.