PROPERTY FROM THE DUDLEY & CONSTANCE GODFREY FOUNDATION
Obadiah Spencer Jr. (1666-1741) was the progenitor of the shop. He was the grandson of Thomas Spencer (1607-1687), the leading turner of Hartford in the 17th century, and Nicholas Disbrowe (1612-1683), the principal local joiner. Obadiah Jr. probably learned the trade from his uncle, Gerard Spencer (1650-1712). Obadiah’s shop produced fashionable turned chairs with shaped and carved crest rail and other decorative options in imitation of the sophisticated banister-back and cane-back seating furniture made in Boston. He employed a number of apprentices who disseminated his shop tradition in the Farmington River Valley and western Massachusetts later in the eighteenth century.
For a similar chair attributed to the Spencer shop, see one in the collection of the Simsbury Historical Society that descended in the Whiting family of Simsbury.2
1 Wadsworth Athenaeum, The Great River: Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley, 1635-1820, 1985, no. 87.
2 See ibid, no. 88, p. 208-9.
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