Decorative Arts and Design
On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Mahogany, original leather upholstery
46 x 20 x 18 in. (116.8 x 50.8 x 45.7 cm) (show scale)
On underside of front proper right seat rail, white adhesive paper label printed in ink: "F 90"
Gift of Isabel Shults, by exchange
Mahogany side chair with trapezoidal seat thickly upholstered with tooled, polychrome leather in an asymmetrical design that includes: large flowers painted in light impasto in yellow, pale green, and gray; tooled scrolls; stamped clusters of small, concentric, gilded circles; and a green painted lattice motif. A thin leather gimp is secured with evenly spaced large, half-round tacks. The legs are square members with down-tapered squared sabots. The front legs taper down about one quarter-inch and the back legs about one half-inch. The four edges of each leg are rounded and the face of each leg between these rounded corners is slightly convex. On the front and outer side faces of the front legs and on the outer side of the back legs, the rounded edges sprout at the top three vertically disposed carved leaves that form a symmetrical design on each of these faces. The seat rails are deep and undecorated; the back rail is squared, the front and side rails are articulated at the abutment of the legs with a small scallop. Above the seat the square back stiles are rounded on the back and taper slightly as they flare outward toward the crest rail that has rounded corners and is gently domed. The cutout baluster-shaped back splat, carved from one piece of wood, is highly ornamented. At bottom are flat, carved, symmetrical S-shaped scrolls that center a partial flower head. Roundels with carved full-face flowers terminate the outer two curved, concentric slats. The central slat becomes a feather with two pairs of symmetrical branches whose ends illusionistically fold back on themselves and meet adjacent slats. The feather is tied by an illusionistic bow whose ribbons symmetrically curl over the outer slats. There is a narrow cross band decorated with parallel vertical flutes centering a small flower, and a broader band of four articulated lozenges below. On the front top crest rail is a large flower with symmetrical leaves that become geometric volutes. Symmetrical, leafy carvings trail from the front top of the sides of the crest rail partially down the front of the back stiles.
CONDITION: Very good. Slight surface abrasion top center front and proper left front corner of crest rail (stain applied over abrasions without smoothing surface). White scuffmark on side top proper left stile at juncture with crest rail. Crest rail slightly separated from proper left stile. Old vertical crack about 5 1/4" long on side of proper left stile at seat height. Some light scratches on outer edges of legs. Plywood attached to bottom of seat is not original. Leather seat in poor condition (see conservation memo in file). It is not certain if paint on flowers of seat is original or an old in painting.
Henry H. Richardson (1836-1886). Side Chair, ca. 1885. Mahogany, original leather upholstery, 46 x 20 x 18 in. (116.8 x 50.8 x 45.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Isabel Shults, by exchange, 1989.68. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.1989.68.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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