Side Chair

ca. 1810Unidentified cabinetmakerEnglandmahogany, with reproduction cane32 1/2 in. × 19 in. × 16 in. (82.55 cm. × 48.26 cm. × 40.64 cm.)

Bequest of Mrs. Sylvia E. Ross


The eighteenth-century discovery of the buried Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii stimulated new forms and designs associated with ancient Greece and Rome. Cabinetmakers kept pace with the latest designs through published pattern books. English and American cabinetmakers created chairs based on the ancient Greek klismos, with its distinctive curved back and outward curved legs. These exceedingly fashionable forms appeared in both carved mahogany and more modest painted forms. Light, caned seats, seen here, were cool in warm weather.

—Laura Fecych Sprague