GOTHIC REVIVAL MAHOGANIZED OAK HALL CHAIR
The Stanton Hall Master c. 1850
Probably the rarest and most fascinating of American Gothic Revival furniture is this extraordinary hall chair. With its extremely high-back and distinctive birdcage carved front legs and upright supports, this distinctive chair has become the icon of American Gothic Revival. Related to a set made in the mid-1850’s for Stanton Hall, the plantation home of Frederick Stanton in Natchez, Mississippi, the chair is part of a group of chairs obviously by the same maker. The few similar examples known are mostly in museum collections, and practically every museum with a significant American decorative arts collection possesses one of these hall chairs, or a related piece by the same cabinetmaker. Those institutions include: Winterthur, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Bybee Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [The latter two have large, asymmetrical high-backed sofas.] Recently conducted analysis suggests that most of these originally had a dark, mahoganized surface like the present example. The majority, however, have been refinished. Several of the related examples are also now lacking the attached pendant trefoils under the seat rails.
From the base of its birdcage pierced legs to the crocketed spires of its high-pinnacled top, this chair retains all of its original elements and finish. It may, therefore, be the best example known of this iconic form.
Carved Oak with highly distinctive birdcage-pierced stiles and front legs. The exceedingly high cathedral tracery back surmounted by well-formed cusps and crocket spires. The hinged plank seat and glove box over a lower frieze of dropped trefoils. Exhibited: “In Pointed Style: The Gothic Revival in America, 1800-1860”, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, April 15-June 9, 2006.
Excellent with original “mahoganized” finish.
Feld, Elizabeth and Stuart P. Feld, In Pointed Style. New York: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., 2006, p. 120. Also refer to Venable, Charles L., American Furniture in the Bybee Collection. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989, p. 152, illus. 153; and Pierce, Donald C., Art and Enterprise: American Decorative Art, 1825-1917, the Virginia Caroll Crawford Collection Exhibition Catalog. Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 1999, pp. 66, illus. 67, for images and discussions of similar chairs.
SIZE: 68” h x 22” w x 20” d
CALL NUMBER: 96-I-CH