818
818
THE IMPORTANT FAIRBANKS FAMILY PILGRIM CENTURY TURNED AND RED-PAINTED MAPLE SPINDLE-BACK GREAT CHAIR, ATTRIBUTED TO EPHRAIM TINKHAM, PLYMOUTH OR MIDDLEBORO, PLYMOUTH COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS, CIRCA 1680
Estimation
50 00080 000
Lot. Vendu 125,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
818
THE IMPORTANT FAIRBANKS FAMILY PILGRIM CENTURY TURNED AND RED-PAINTED MAPLE SPINDLE-BACK GREAT CHAIR, ATTRIBUTED TO EPHRAIM TINKHAM, PLYMOUTH OR MIDDLEBORO, PLYMOUTH COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS, CIRCA 1680
Estimation
50 00080 000
Lot. Vendu 125,000 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Collection of Anne H. & Frederick Vogel III

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New York

THE IMPORTANT FAIRBANKS FAMILY PILGRIM CENTURY TURNED AND RED-PAINTED MAPLE SPINDLE-BACK GREAT CHAIR, ATTRIBUTED TO EPHRAIM TINKHAM, PLYMOUTH OR MIDDLEBORO, PLYMOUTH COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS, CIRCA 1680

Provenance

Joseph Fairbanks (1656-1734) m. Abigail Dean, Deham, Massachusetts;
Joseph Fairbanks, Jr.  (1717-1794) m. Frances Estey, Winthrop, Maine;
Captain Benjamin Fairbanks (1747-1828) m. Keturah Luce (1749-1807), Winthrop, Maine;
Joseph Fairbanks (1774-1831) m. Martha Eaton (1770-1842), Farmington, Maine;
Robert Eaton Fairbanks (1800-1871) m. Mary Bangs (1800-1869), Phillips, Maine;
Charles Bangs Fairbanks (1834-1910) m. Amelia Adelaide Hewey (1851-1930), Phillips, Maine;
Nellie Fairbanks Bean (1890-1973) m. Lamon Desmond Bean (1896-1959), Phillips, Maine;
Bronson Winthrop Griscom (1907-1977) m. Sophie Margaretta Gay Griscom (1907-1985), Phillips, Maine;
F.O. Bailey Antiquarians, Portland, Maine, Fine Estate Auction, November 2, 1985;
Lillian Blankley Cogan Antiquary, Farmington, Connecticut, February 1989;
Vogel Collection no. 510.

Bibliographie

F.O. Bailey Antiquarians, advertisement, Maine Antique Digest, vol. 13, no. 11, November 1985, p. 44-F;
“Great Chair, Great Price!” Maine Antique Digest, vol 13, no. 12, December 1985, pp. 1-a, 8-C-9-C;
Lillian Blankley Cogan, advertisement, Magazine Antiques, col. 129, no. 1, January 1986, p. 96;
Robert F. Trent and Karin Goldstein, “Notes about New ‘Tinkham’ Chairs,” Americana Furniture 1998, ed. Luke Beckerdite, (Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation, 1998), pp. 215-37, fig. 19.

Description

This exceptional armchair belongs to an important group of turned chairs associated with the turner Ephraim Tinkham, Jr. (1649-1713), Plymouth and Middleboro, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.  The group was first attributed to Tinkham by Robert Blair St. George (see Robert Blair St. George, "A Plymouth Area Chairmaking Tradition of the Late Seventeenth Century," Middleborough Antiquarian vol. 19, no. 2, December 1978, pp. 3-12 and Robert Blair St. George, The Wrought Covenant: Source Material for the Study of Craftsmen and Community in Southeastern New England, 1620-1700, (Brockton, MA: Brockton Art Center-Fuller Memorial, 1979), pp. 50-1).  It was subsequently reassessed by Robert F. Trent and Karin Goldstein (see Robert F. Trent and Karin Goldstein, “Notes about New ‘Tinkham’ Chairs,” Americana Furniture 1998, ed. Luke Beckerdite, (Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation, 1998), pp. 215-37).  The group in totality represents the work of four or five generations of turners stemming from an unidentified master who probably worked in Plymouth between 1640 and 1680.  The chair's strong affinity to Dutch turning design suggests that the master was probably trained in England under strong Dutch influence. Ephraim Tinkham trained with the master in Plymouth likely between about 1663 and 1670. Presumably, other turners may have apprenticed with the master in Plymouth and subsequent generations of apprentices may have spread the tradition across southeastern Massachusetts

Chairs from the shop tradition display considerable variation in detail and in major compositional choices like slat-backs versus spindle-backs. The Fairbanks chair is a major monument of the middle or mature phase of the tradition's development. The finials, with an upper ball, long-necked reel, and simplified lower ball, are not typical of the earliest chairs from the tradition but reflect Baroque influence. Quite typical of most chairs in the tradition are the indented turning of the front posts above the seat rail; ball turnings flanked by cove moldings on the posts; the vasiform spindles with relatively straight bodies; and the strong trapezoidal splay of the chair's plan.

A number of armchairs from this tradition have mis-drilled joints in their frames. Three such mis-drilled joints are visible on this chair’s rear post. A possible explanation maybe that turners made armchairs infrequently and were more likely to make errors. Further, as Robert Trent has noted, the master and his apprentices in this tradition did not employ a uniform pattern stick.  Therefore, it appears that the chairmakers may have improvised a pattern virtually every time they made an armchair.

The line of descent in the Fairbanks family is fairly clear. The nineteenth and twentieth ­century family members who owned the chair in Maine all descended from Joseph Fairbanks (1717-1794), who moved from Dedham to Wrentham, Massachusetts, on the Rhode Island border, and then to Winthrop, Maine, near Augusta, just before the Revolution. Beginning with the patriarch Jonathan Fairbanks (died 1668) of Dedham, Massachusetts, a turner and the builder of the extant 1637 Fairbanks house, the paternal line leading to Joseph runs through Jonathan's son John Fairbanks (died 1684) of Dedham (also a turner and wheelwright), to his son Joseph Fairbanks (1656-1734) of Dedham, to Joseph Fairbanks, Jr. (1717-1794).

On stylistic grounds, the probable first owner of the chair was Joseph of the third generation, although why he chose to acquire a chair from a turner outside of Dedham rather than from one of his immediate relatives is unclear. Because Joseph lived on part of the original Fairbanks property, this chair may have been used in the family house which still stands in Dedham, Massachusetts.

The Collection of Anne H. & Frederick Vogel III

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New York