Attributed to Samuel McIntire (American, 17571811)
Mahogany, ebony, ash, birch, white pine; 37 7/8 x 27 7/8 x 18 in. (96.2 x 70.8 x 45.7 cm)
Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1962 (62.16)
This vase-back chair, originally part of a large set, was made for the wealthy Salem merchant Elias Hasket Derby. The chair's overall design is based on plate 2 of George Hepplewhite's Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide (London, 1788), but it has been enriched considerably by the addition of relief carving to parts of the back and the front legs. The carved grape clusters in the lunette at the base of the splat and suspended from bowknots at the top of each leg are a motif traditionally associated with the work of Salem's renowned architect and carver Samuel McIntire, who also was responsible for designing Elias Hasket Derby's spectacular Neoclassical mansion in Salem, completed in 1794.