761
761

PROPERTY FROM THE DUDLEY & CONSTANCE GODFREY FOUNDATION

Important William and Mary Black-Painted Carved and Turned Maple Bannister-Back Armchair, Attributed to the Spencer Family Shop, Hartford area, Connecticut, Circa 1750
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 11,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT
761

PROPERTY FROM THE DUDLEY & CONSTANCE GODFREY FOUNDATION

Important William and Mary Black-Painted Carved and Turned Maple Bannister-Back Armchair, Attributed to the Spencer Family Shop, Hartford area, Connecticut, Circa 1750
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 11,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Americana

|
New York

Important William and Mary Black-Painted Carved and Turned Maple Bannister-Back Armchair, Attributed to the Spencer Family Shop, Hartford area, Connecticut, Circa 1750
retains an early historic black-painted surface; feet are replaced.
Height 48 1/2 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Exhibited

Hartford, Connecticut, Wadsworth Atheneum, The Great River: Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley, September 22, 1985 - January 5, 1986, illus. pp. 208-9, no. 87.

Literature

Robert Trent, “The Spencer Chairs and Regional Chair Making in the Connecticut River Valley, 1639-1863,” Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin, 49:4 (Fall 1984), 184, fig. 7;
Wadsworth Athenaeum, The Great River: Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley, 1635-1820, 1985, no. 87.

Catalogue Note

This armchair was included in the exhibition The Great River: Art & Society of the Connecticut Valley held at the Wadsworth Athenaeum from September 22, 1985 to January 5, 1986 and illustrated in the accompanying catalogue.1 It is a rare example of William and Mary seating furniture from the Connecticut River Valley with a fan and rosette carved crest rail and spool shaped finials. The armchair is attributed to the Spencer family workshop of Hartford since it displays distinctive characteristics associated with that shop. These include the placement of the banisters with the rounded side against the sitter’s back, the shaped rail below that terminates in carved volutes, and the turned rails between the arm supports and the seat rails.  Robert Trent has included this chair is his article, “The Spencer Chairs and Regional Chair Making in the Connecticut River Valley, 1639-1863,” published in the Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin in the Fall of 1984.

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.

Important Americana

|
New York