Decorative Arts and Design
The Shakers were a religious community that emigrated from England in the eighteenth century and were guided by the principles of honesty, simplicity, and practicality—qualities reflected in their furniture designs. Their works typically lack ornamentation, which was thought to be boastful and fetishize worldly goods. Instead, Shaker designs display an appreciation of raw materials and good craftsmanship.
This type of ladder-back chair was a core business for the Shakers. The rear feet are fitted with tilters, a Shaker invention that allowed the sitter to tip the chair backward without damaging the feet.
36 7/8 × 18 × 19 in. (93.7 × 45.7 × 48.3 cm) (show scale)
Impressed on top of back slat: "3"
Gift of Mrs. Oscar Bernstien
Slat-back with three slats joined to plain stiles. Woven split-wood seat, plain front legs joined across fron with two plain stretchers, two plain stretchers join front and rear legs on both sides. One plain stretcher joins rear legs. Rear legs are fitted at feet with tilters, a Shaker invention, which is a ball resting on a flat surface fitted into a socket and held in place with rawhide. Theis device allows the chair to be tipped backward by the sitter without damage to the rear legs or feet.
CONDITION: Much wear, seat in very bad condition, back leg missing fitted tilter ball at foot.
This item is not on view
Shaker Community. Chair, 1830-1870. Pine, 36 7/8 × 18 × 19 in. (93.7 × 45.7 × 48.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Oscar Bernstien, 77.84.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 77.84.2_PS9.jpg)
overall, 77.84.2_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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