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Side Chair

Taylor, Alexander Sr. __Attributed to
Place Made:
Petersburg Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany with lightwood inlay
HOA: 35 1/2″; WOA: 19 5/8″; Seat height: 16 1/2″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Neoclassical side chair: Has arcaded back within square frame; crest rail decorated with 4 vertical blocks inlaid to look as if they were fluted; blocks alternate with simple inlay over each of three horseshoe arches; top of each of four colonettes has carved tulip above tapered section that is decorated with intertwining lightwood inlay stringing and a bellflower at the base; the whole sitting on a fluted square along the rail at the base of the chair back; chair legs are slightly tapered with H stretchers. DOA 19 3/4.

STYLE: This chair back is adapted from a chair in plate 33 of Thomas Sheraton’s THE CABINETMAKER AND UPHOLSTERER’S DRAWING BOOK, 1793.

GROUP: An identical chair in the Colonial Williamsburg Collection, perhaps part of the same set, descended in the Cocke family of Woodland Plantation of Amelia County, Virginia.
(See MESDA Object Database S-6834). One of the chair’s most distinctive features–the intertwined guilloche that ends in a bellflower–appears on an oval work table at Yale University that bears the incised signature “A TAYLOR/10th/January/1803.”

MAKER: Alexander Taylor, Sr. (1737-1805) and his son, Alexander Taylor, Jr. (1784-1820) were accomplished Petersburg cabinetmakers with a taste for ambitious design. Their talents helped them to secure significant commissions from some of the wealthiest families in the Virginia and North Carolina Piedmont. In addition to the Archer and Cocke families of Amelia County, they provided furniture to the powerful Bennehans and Camerons of “Fairntosh,” Orange County, North Carolina, and two branches of the Eppes family–one of “Eppington” in Chesterfield County, and another of “Bermuda Hundred” in Chesterfield and “Appomattox Manor” in Hopewell.

WOODS: Mahogany primary wood, light wood inlay, corner braces yellow pine, and seat rails sweet gum.

History in the Cocke-Archer-Irving family of Woodlands, Amelia Co., Virginia.

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. Edward T. Lacy