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Woodward, James
Place Made:
Norfolk Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany –ash –yellow pine
HOA: 36 1/2; WOA: 22 1/2; DOA: 21
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Armchair with square back; central carved splat with Prince of Wales feathers over a pierced urn with drapery swags flanked by carved columns; sinuous arms; H-stretcher with one stretcher in back; upholstery wraps over rail with decorative nails on seat rails; mahogany with oak seat rails and yellow pine diagonal braces

DESIGN: The design of the chair is taken from Thomas Sheraton, The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book, 3rd edition, London, 1802, plate 36.

RELATED WORKS: Breakfast table also by Woodward (MESDA Acc. No. 3813). This table and other works that can be documented to Woodward are more vernacular in nature.

MAKER: James Woodward was a highly productive cabinetmaker in Norfolk, Virginia, from at least 1793 until his death in 1839. He produced furniture for many of Virginia’s elite families, including a table for Humberston Skipwith (MESDA acc. 3813) and this arm chair (MESDA acc. 4033) from a set made for General John Hartwell Cocke. At Woodward’s death in 1839, his estate inventory revealed a large and complex cabinet shop, with over 125 pieces of furniture listed.

This chair is one of the “12 Mahogany Chairs at 10 Dol. Each…$120.00” and “2 Elbow Chairs at 15 Dol. Each…$30.00” billed to General John Hartwell Cocke (1780-1866) on 18 June 1803. Bills also exist for the shipment of the chairs to Cocke’s plantation at Swan’s Point, Surry County, upriver from Norfolk, and again, around 1809 to the family’s new home, “Bremo,” near Monticello.
Credit Line:
Loan courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts