PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THOMAS P AND ALICE K KUGELMAN
After training in East Windsor, Connecticut, Eliphalet Chapin worked as a journeyman in Philadelphia, where he learned design and construction features which he continued to incorporate into his work once he returned to Connecticut. These elements include the use of thru-tenons and two-piece vertical corner clocks in chairs with slip seats, such as this chair. Another unusual feature displayed on this chair and others with pierced splats is the use of pieced tips that extend from the back of the crest and lap over the splat. The Gothic interlaced splat with a superimposed X-motif represents the most elaborate pattern produced by his shop and the pierced carved knee brackets, which are rare embellishments, were labor intensive to produce. These refinements account for the significant price paid for the set, which is equal to that of the set of chairs with diamond splats, cabriole legs and claw and ball feet also ordered as part of the Grant-Marsh commission.
The slip seat of this chair is numbered VI while the seat frame is not marked. Other chairs from this set survive. Four formerly owned by Bernard and S. Dean Levy are illustrated and referenced in their advertisement in The Magazine Antiques for January 1974. Two of the chairs sold by Levy to the Western Reserve Historical Society are illustrated in The Magazine Antiques, May 1976. One of those chairs is pictured as fig. 12 on page 1088 of “New Information about Chapin Chairs” published by Joseph Lionetti and Robert Trent in The Magazine Antiques May 1986. Levy sold the other pair from the set to James Thomson of Farmington, Connecticut. At his death, the chairs were sold at Christie’s, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art and Decorative Arts, January 22, 1994, sale 7820, lot 253.
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