Collections › MESDA Collection › Settee


Place Made:
Charleston South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany, maple, yellow pine
HOA: 33 1/4; WOA: 53 1/4; DOA: 22
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Sheraton-style settee: Has six legs, three turned front legs and three squared back legs; the front corner legs supporting squared and turned arm supports decorated with diamond-shaped inlaid decorations; the arms curving up and back to a square crest rail, the center of which is blocked out and decorated with a large diamond as on the legs; the upper part of the arms and the back are also decorated with line inlay and one-piece bellflowers at each terminus; upholstered back, seat, and under arms.

UPHOLSTERY: A new minimally-instusive upholstery system was applied in 2015 by Leroy Graves of Colonial Williamsburg’s conservation department. The period-appropriate fabric is black horsehair.

STYLE: Although the diamond motif on the center back and legs has been found only on a few other pieces from South Carolina, the bell flower designs are quite typical of the region. They were typically made from one piece of wood.

WOODS: mahogany primary wood with maple inlay; mahogany end rails, maple back rail, hard yellow pine back uprights and tacking rails.

The settee descended in the Adger-Smyth family of Charleston and probably belonged originally to the wealthy merchant James Adger (1777-1858) and his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Ellison (1783-1856). Born in Ireland, Adger moved to Charleston in 1802 and married Ellison on September 6, 1806. Eventually owning his own wharf, he became one of wealthiest merchants in antebellum Charleston, and in 1845 established a packet steamship line between Charleston and New York, popularly known as the “Adger line.”

Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift