Side Chair

Attributed to John Townsend American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 717

The subtle tilt of the chair back afforded minimal comfort while prompting the sitter to employ respectable posture. As mercantile wealth and social status increased in the colonial period, so did entertaining customs and the hierarchical distance between those perched in these chairs and those serving them. When entertaining subsided, chairs lined the edge of a room allowing the abstract wonderment of the skillfully sawn, puzzle-like back to enrich the interior design.

Side Chair, Attributed to John Townsend (1732–1809), Mahogany, maple, chestnut, white pine, American

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