The Windsor chairmaker of this bench was quite well trained, in his use of academic and accepted arm support turnings, the carving of the arm terminals, and the shaping of the seat, while drastically parting from accepted form in his turnings of the legs, no doubt from a preference or local custom.
WOODS: poplar seat; hickory back rail and spindles; maple legs
MAKER: The bench is attributed to David Ruth (1761-1825), who made Windsor chairs and carriages in Granville County, North Carolina, just across the border from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Born in Philadelphia, Ruth fought with the Continental Army during the American Revolution but moved to Granville County shortly thereafter in the late 1780s. There, he enjoyed the patronage of the Skipwith family at Prestwould Plantation in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, and the North Carolina state government. Ruth is documented receiving several commissions for making tables and Windsor chairs for the North Carolina Capitol building and other government offices. 1802, Ruth relocated permanently to Raleigh where he partnered with his son, David, Jr. (1791-1862), an ornamental painter and chair maker. His younger son, George Washington Ruth (1799-1858), was trained as a silversmith.
RELATED OBJECT: For a documented settee made in 1797 by David Ruth for Prestwould Plantation, see MESDA Acc. # 3840.