Armchair (English, French style), 1760-1774

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Upholstered George III drawing room armchair in the "French cabriolet" style, with wooden frame, exposed arm terminals and uprights, and legs. Its padded back is shield-shaped, and conforms somewhat to the sitter's back. The over-upholstered seat frame is of beech, roughly horseshoe-shaped, swelling gently at the center front. The mahogany terminals and uprights of the arms are carved in soft scrolling curves, and the horizontal armrests are padded. There is a slender band of exposed moulded mahogany framing the skirts of the seat, and extending down the four legs. The mahogany legs are slightly cabriole, with low-relief fanlike carving at the front knees, and scrolls at all four feet. Independence National Historical Park acquired another chair in this apparent group/set/suite in 1975. A third chair has been in the collections of the Franklin Institute since 1934. In the collections of Grumblethorpe, the historic home of the Wister family in Germantown, is a photograph of Charles Jones Wister, Jr., the last of the family to live in the house, seated on a chair that resembles to "Franklin" chairs so closely that there is little doubt of its being part of the same group. There are several connections between Franklin, his descendents, and members of the Wister families.

The chairs in this set may have come from the furniture ware rooms of London chairmaker John Cobb. The attribution to Cobb was suggested by several English furniture historians on the basis of the chair's similarity to chairs whose origin in his shop is supported by documentation.

Connection to Franklin
Believed bought by Franklin in London and given to Mary (Polly) Stevenson Hewson Terms of Use Credits