Library chair with folding steps, 1760-1780
Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004

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Photo by Peter Harholdt, 2004
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This leather-upholstered chair, also called the President's Chair, was Franklin's library chair. The chair has a shallow serpentine crest and straight back, tipped backward slightly. Its open arms have a serpentine contour, flat, leather-covered armrests, and bare supports that sweep forward in shallow C-curves to join the capacious leather-covered seat at the front of its frame. The front seat frame has a deep skirt cut away in a pair of opposing ogee or serpentine curves. The sides of the seat frame are shallow, with no shaping. The front legs are square in profile with a bead along the outer edges and relieved or chamfered inner edges. The square rear legs rake back sharply to provide balance. All the legs are now fitted with casters. The seat assembly pivots upward toward the chair back, revealing three shallow steps. Brackets attached to the seat board support the middle and top steps. When opened, the entire assembly of steps is supported on short fly rails that can be swung out from beneath the frame. A metal rod, not original, is screwed to the inside of the front legs to provide additional stability. Terms of Use Credits