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Place Made:
Perquimans County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
walnut with yellow pine
HOA: 31 1/4; WOA: 22 1/4; DOA: 16
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Arm chair. Made to simulate a corner chair, but with a trapezoidal seat and three splats to form a three-sided back with low curving arms passing over equal-height front and back posts, which are turned above the seat and enclose the three pierced splats; the outer corners of all straight legs are molded and the legs connected with stretchers at all four sides; front seat rail is molded; shoe separate; legs chamfered on inside edges; tunnels used throughout.

GROUP: Perhaps best described as a low-backed chair, this example is one of three such chairs from the same shop. The trapezoidal seat rather than the square seat of a corner chair appears to be unique to the Perquimans area. Construction details common to the school are found in this chair: the wedge-shaped seat supports are nailed in place; the crest is rabbeted at the sides to receive the arms. Four common side chairs have also been attributed to this shop. Like the armchair, these examples have lobate splat piercings in the George II style, though the patterns differ from that found in the armchair.

The chair descended in the family of Elihu Anthony White (1834-1900) of the Belvidere community in Perquimans County. The chair had previously belonged to his father, David White (1781-1862), son of Josiah (1750-1807) and Sarah (Newby) White (1758-1821), who were married at Perquimans Monthly Meeting on November 5, 1772. This is probably one of the “2 Arm Chairs” purchased by David White in 1821 at his mother’s estate sale.

The Quaker cabinetmaker Thomas White made a desk in the MESDA Collection (Acc. 3250) for Sarah’s father, Thomas Newby (1725-1793), a prominent Quaker merchant. Newby’s account book at North Carolina State Archives documents his patronage of the two leading Quaker cabinetmakers in the area, Thomas White and John Sanders. This chair possibly represents the Sanders cabinetmaking group, which included the work of John Sanders (c.1735-1777) and his younger brother Benjamin Sanders (c.1740-1795), as well as their apprentices Josiah Murdaugh (1759-c.1830) and Thomas Newby (c. 1760-1791).

Credit Line:
Lent by Mr. and Mrs. Harold White