Lot 2148
  • 2148

Important Pair of Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Side Chairs, Carving attributed to Martin Jugiez, Philadelphia, circa 1765

200,000 - 300,000 USD
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  • mahogany
  • Height 39 1/2 in.


Stoudts Black Angus Antiques Mall, Adamstown, Pennsylvania;
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Fine Americana, January 29, 1977, sale 3947, lot 1092 (before seat rail restoration);
David Stockwell, Wilmington, Delaware;
Chair A:
Honorable J. William Middendorf II, Little Compton, Rhode Island;
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Folk Art and Historical Prints, January 26, 1991, sale 7214, lot 411;
Alan Miller, Quakertown, Pennsylvania.
Chair B:
Bernard and S. Dean Levy, New York;
Alan Miller, Quakertown, Pennsylvania.


Bernard and S. Dean Levy Inc., New York, Designs Useful and Ornamental: American Interpretations from English and European Design Books, January 21, 1993 to February 13, 1993.


Bernard and S. Dean Levy Inc., advertisement, The Magazine Antiques, 143:1 (January 1993), 1;
George Parker, “Early American Furniture in Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Academy Review, 43: 2 (Spring 1997), 13.


Seat rails later over upholstered and subsequently repaired. Slip seats replaced. One chair with replaced glue blocks. One chair with three replaced knee returns (see Christie's New York, Important America Furniture, Silver, Folk Art and Historical Prints, January 26, 1991, sale 7214, lot 411), front rail with patch. Minor patches to ear carving on one chair.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Made of a dense mahogany with extraordinary high relief carving, these important side chairs stem from one of the most lavish sets of seating furniture made in Philadelphia during the Rococo period. Their design is in the latest London taste and follows a chair pattern illustrated by Thomas Chippendale in The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker’s Director (London, 1754, pl. XII).  The maker nearly copied the design verbatim from the Chinese fret splat, to the C-scroll knee brackets, carved knees, and the cabriole legs ending in scrolled French feet.

The robust high relief carving is attributed to Martin Jugiez, one of Philadelphia’s most talented immigrant carvers during the late eighteenth century. He was in partnership with Nicholas Bernard from the early 1760s and was the primary carver in their business with a fully developed working style. By 1783, Jugiez had established a separate business. These two carvers and their work is the focus of the article by Luke Beckerdite and Alan Miller, “A Table’s Tale: Crafts, Art, and Opportunity in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia, published in American Furniture, (Hanover and London: The Chipstone Foundation, 2004), pp. 2-45. A side chair at Chipstone from the same set as this pair is illustrated and discussed by Beckerdite and Miller in their article.1

Jugiez’s carving for this set of chairs is exceptional with a three-dimensional quality rarely found on Philadelphia seating furniture. In their discussion of the Chipstone side chair, Beckerdite and Miller describe the carving as more akin to architectural carving in its extreme depth. It was executed in a more sculptural fashion than the Chippendale design, with cabriole legs displaying a greater mass and more powerful sweep, with their curves accentuated by deeply carved scrolls and leaves.2  The cabochons and leaves circling the scrolls of the feet are pierced, undercut and carved completely in the round. The shell ears of the crest and small acanthus clusters flanking the lower piercing of the splat are carved deeply nearly exposing the back of the stock.3 Beckerdite and Miller note that this carving attests to the tremendous control Jugiez maintained over his tools and material while working quickly.

Other chairs made as part of this same set with carving by Jugiez include the one at Chipstone mentioned above, a pair at Winterthur Museum,4 a pair sold in these rooms, Fine Americana, January 29, 1977, sale 3947, lot 1092, and a side chair from the Buckeley Collection illustrated by Luke Vincent Lockwood in Colonial Furniture in America (New York, 1926, 3rd ed.), p. 91, fig. 555. Another pair was sold at Christies, The Collection of May and Howard Joynt, Alexandria , Virginia, January 20, 1990, sale 7012, lot 500.  That pair was included in the exhibitions, The Philadelphia Chair, held at the Historical Society of York County in 1978 and In Praise of America, held at the National Gallery of Art in 1980.

A related set of chairs with the a similar overall pattern but with claw-and-ball front feet and less exuberant carving is represented by a side chair at Chipstone,5 one at Winterthur,6 and one sold at Christie’s, Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Nusrala, January 21, 2006, lot 685.

1 See Luke Beckerdite and Alan Miller, “A Table’s Tale: Crafts, Art, and Opportunity in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia, published in American Furniture, (Hanover and London: The Chipstone Foundation, 2004), fig. 43, p. 26.
2 Ibid, p. 26.
3 Ibid, p. 27.
4 See Joseph Downs, American Furniture (New York, 1952), pl. 135.
5 See Beckerdite and Miller, fig. 48, p. 28.
6 Ibid, pl. 136.