WILLIAM AND MARY BANISTER BACK SIDE CHAIR
North Shore, Massachusetts; Probably Newbury
Primary Wood: True Poplar (by microanalysis)
Secondary Wood: Ash (by microanalysis)
Height: 46 3/4 inches
Width: 18 inches
Depth: 14 inches
Reference: Banister back chairs with both carved crests and seat rails are quite rare. An identical chair is pictured in Luke Vincent Lockwood’s Colonial Furniture in America, vol. II, page 42, figure 465. Also see the article in American Furniture 2010 entitled “The Gaines Attributions and Baroque Seating in Northeastern New England” by Robert F. Trent, Erik Gronning, and Alan Andersen, pages 140-193, particularly the section on Newbury banister back chairs on pages 178-181. The chair in figure 65 has an almost identical base with its turned stretchers and raked back legs.
The use of true poplar, Populus species, is not uncommon in 17th and early 18th century furniture made in eastern Massachusetts. Please see Benno M. Forman, American Seating Furniture, 1630-1730, entry 1. He also discusses the use of true poplar concerning the Mather family highchair, figure 36, and its appearance in the inventory of Beverly turner, John Corning (1675-1734) as “1/2 a cord of popler Timber.” See pages 76 and 84.
Item Number: 7246