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  17TH CENTURY, OAK ARMCHAIR WITH 1876 RELIEF-CARVED DEPICTIONS OF WILLIAM PENN’S TREATY WITH THE INDIANS AND THE PRAYER BEFORE THE EMBARKATION OF THE PILGRIMS, PROBABLY CARVED BEFORE SPECTATORS AT THE CENTENNIAL INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION IN PHILADELPHIA
Dimensions (inches): 43.25" tall x 23.75" wide x 26" deep
Description:
An English oak armchair, made in the mid-17th century, but embellished in the late 19th century America with fantastically detailed, relief-carved illustrations of William Penn’s treaty with the Indians and the prayer before the embarkation of the of the Pilgrims. The design for Penn's Treaty comes from the famous work by American Benjamin West (1738-1820), which he painted between 1771-1772. It is a mirror image of the original. The design for the embarkation of the pilgrims was taken from an 1856 engraving by Englishman William Greatbach (1802-1885). These scenes are accompanied by other elaborate carving throughout. In the center of the crest rail is a six-pointed star, like the Shield of David (a.k.a., Star of David), with a pierced center, flanked by circular portraits of William Penn and Christopher Columbus. These are flanked by portraits of Native Americans at the ears. The hand rests on the arms of the chair are carved into the heads of fanciful eagles, behind which are feathered wings.

The original carving on this type of chair, in this very early period, would have been simple, so the artist dressed it up with scrolls, flowered rosettes, leaves, ocean waves, and triangular dental designs, among other decoration. The more elaborate, patriotic embellishments are almost certainly of Philadelphia origin, as evidenced by the two prominent depictions of William Penn. These were done by an unknown carver for the 100-year anniversary of American Independence, the official celebration of which took place in Philadelphia in the form of the Centennial International Exhibition. The six-month-long event was America's first World's Fair. More than 200 temporary buildings were erected on the 285 acre site in Fairmount Park, which drew nine million visitors. Exhibitors at the fair often demonstrated their trade first-hand and these works were sometimes available for purchase. It is likely that this 17th century English chair was actually carved before spectators at the fair itself. The use of an old, English chair by the artist would have had obvious relevance at the centennial and may thus have been fully intentional.

Condition: There are various breaks, minor losses, and structural repairs, but the overall condition is excellent for a chair of this period and the scope of these things is trivial with regard to the importance of the object. The chair is very sturdy and sit-able. The old, varnished surface very dark brown, nearly black, with great patina. Please inquire for more specific details.
   
Primary Color: brown, black
Earliest Date: 1750
Latest Date: 1876
For Sale Status: Available
Price $25,000
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com
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