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Corner Chair

Place Made:
Southside Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
walnut –yellow pine
HOA: 33 1/4; WOA: 17 3/8
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Corner chair; square legs; flat curved and shaped arms with circular handleholds; applied crest; back splats are vase shaped; box stretchers.

STYLE: This chair is part of a large group attributed to an anonymous shop in Southside Virginia. The chairs are characterized by having splats seated in an open mortise cut into the rear seat rail. After the splat was glued and nailed into the mortise, the opening was filled with small blocks of secondary wood (usually pine). As seen here, corner chairs in this group often do not have a molded shoe attached to the rear rail.

HALIFAX CONNECTION: The lack of a molded shoe is typical of corner chairs from Halifax and Mecklenburg counties in Southside Virginia. Similar parallels exist between case pieces from the two areas, largely as a result of the widespread dissemination of the Petersburg style.

The chair descended in the family of John Lewis (1720-1794), who was born in New Kent County, Virginia, and grew up at his father’s plantation, “The Byrd,” located on Byrd Creek in Goochland County. In 1770, John patented 1146 acres on the Dan River in Pittsylvania and Halifax Counties and moved to that area, naming his plantation “The Byrd.” He also acquired large tracts of land in neighboring Caswell County, North Carolina. Lewis married his first cousin, Mildred Lewis, of Belvoir Plantation in Albemarle County, Virginia, and later her sister, Jane (Lewis) Meriwether.

The chair subsequently descended in the family of Lewis’s granddaughter, Lucy Meriwether (Lewis) Walker (1804-1874) of Caswell County, North Carolina, and was gifted to MESDA by her direct descendant, Lucy Meriwether Lewis Morgan.

Credit Line:
Gift of Miss Lucy M. L. Morgan