STYLE: The shield back carved with drapery swags and plumes is a form usually associated with late-eighteenth century New York, but we now know that this style of back was also popular in Charleston about the same time. These armchairs differ from their New York counterparts in the construction of their seats–diagonal seat braces at each corner set with dovetail joints at the top of ash rails–and in having shortened upper arms with leaf carving.(RAES)
WOODS: mahogany primary; cypress braces; yellow pine and ash rails.
MESDA’s second armchair from this set is on long-term loan to the Dallas Museum of Art. Related objects in the MESDA Collection include a plat by Charleston surveyor Joseph Purcell of the Ball family plantations Kensington and Hyde Park (Acc. 4490.1), a ladle marked by Charleston silversmiths John and Peter Mood (Acc. 4490.3), a two-volume set of The History of America by William Robertson (Philadelphia, 1812) inscribed “John Ball” and “Mathurin G. Gibbs” (Acc. 4490.6), the portrait of Elias Ball II by Jeremiah Theus (Acc. 2739), and a mahogany tea board he purchased in 1775 from the cabinetmaker Thomas Elfe (Acc. 5709).