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Writing-Arm Windsor Chair

Place Made:
Petersburg Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
walnut –yellow pine
HOA: 28 1/2; WOA: 39 1/2; DOA: 18 1/2
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Writing-arm Windsor chair with low back rail terminating with out-sweeping arm at one end and a rounded writing board at the other. The chair is reinforced at the center back with a top batten, and supported by turned balusters, those at the front being vase-form. The writing arm supports a curved front drawer which slides both ways and is partitioned on the back side for ink. The heavy dug-out seat is of two layers of wood at cross-grain to each other and is supported by four vase-turned legs connected by turned H-stretchers. Screws all over desk. Several open mortise and tenon joints where spindles are mounted. Seventeen spindles in back.

WOOD: walnut throughout except for the drawer frame and the lower layer of the laminated seat, which are both of yellow pine.

SCHOOL: A few identical writing-arm chairs are known. All of the chairs in this group are made of walnut, a hardwood not known to have been used for any other American Windsor chairs, and all have two-layer laminated seats. One found in 1981 (MESDA file S-11,082) descended in the Brodnax-Wilkins familiy of Brunswick County in southside Virginia. Another example sold at Ken Farmer Auctions in 2003 had the signature “W.E. Blevens, Petersburg” on the bottom. Petersburg, Virginia, was home to several Windsor chair makers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Among them, Archer Brown and Joel Brown advertised specifically “Secretary Chairs” and “Writing Chairs” among the various forms their shops produced.

This chair was discovered near Richmond, Virginia, by Joe Kindig of Pennsylvania and illustrated in the January 1952 issue of The Magazine Antiques on early southern furniture.
Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton