778
778

PROPERTY FROM THE DUDLEY & CONSTANCE GODFREY FOUNDATION

The Important Carpenter-Howell-Lloyd-Wistar Family Set of Six Chippendale Carved Mahogany Dining Chairs, Philadelphia, Circa 1775
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 15,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
778

PROPERTY FROM THE DUDLEY & CONSTANCE GODFREY FOUNDATION

The Important Carpenter-Howell-Lloyd-Wistar Family Set of Six Chippendale Carved Mahogany Dining Chairs, Philadelphia, Circa 1775
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 15,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Americana

|
New York

The Important Carpenter-Howell-Lloyd-Wistar Family Set of Six Chippendale Carved Mahogany Dining Chairs, Philadelphia, Circa 1775
comprised of one armchair and five side chairs. Two side chairs with matching slip seat marked II and VI, two side chairs with a seat rail marked IIII, V. Several knee returns replaced.
Height of armchair 39 1/4 in.; Height of side chair 38 in.
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Provenance

Thomas Carpenter (1752-1847) and Mary Tonkins Carpenter (1748-1822), Mannington Township, Salem Co., New Jersey and Gloucester City, Camden Co., New Jersey;
Edward Carpenter (1777-1813), Glassboro, Gloucester Co., New Jersey (son);
Mary Tonkin Carpenter (1805-1893) (daughter) and Richard Washington Howell (1799-1859), Camden, New Jersey;
Anna Howell (1846-1913) (daughter) and Malcolm Lloyd, Camden, New Jersey;
Mary Carpenter Lloyd Wister (1888-1988) (daughter), Wayne, Delaware Co., Pennsylvania;
Mary Carpenter Wister (granddaughter);
Sotheby's, New York, Fine Americana, January 25, 1992, sale 6269, lots 1259-1261 (armchair and three side chairs);
Alan Miller, Quakertown, Pennsylvania.

Literature

William M. Hornor, Jr., Blue Book of Philadelphia Furniture: William Penn to George Washington, (Washington, DC: Highland House, 1977), pl. 167.

Catalogue Note

This set of chairs was originally owned by Thomas Carpenter (1742-1847), a glassmaker devout Quaker, and American patriot, and his wife Mary Tonkins (1748-1822), who married on April 13, 1774 in Burlington, Salem County, New Jersey. Thomas Carpenter was the son of Preston Carpenter (1721-1785) and Hannah Smith (1723-c.1766) and grandson of Samuel Carpenter (1649-1714), the deputy governor of Colonial Pennsylvania. Thomas served in the militia during the Revolutionary War, first as an Ensign and Adjutant in Colonel Samuel Dicks Regiment from 1776 to 1778, during which time he was commissioned Paymaster of the militia units in New Jersey. He was appointed Quartermaster of the First Battalion of the New Jersey Continental Line and served in that capacity from 1778 to 1782. After the war, he formed a partnership with Colonel Thomas Heston, his wife’s nephew by marriage, and established a glass manufactory in Carpenter’s Landing, New Jersey and later at Glassboro, New Jersey. The partners were described as "two 'fighting Quakers’” who had given gallant service for the American cause during the Revolution.

These chairs descended through five generations of Thomas and Mary Carpenter’s family until they were sold at Sotheby’s in January of 1992. The set is comprised of one armchair and five side chairs with two side chairs numbered IIII and V and two others numbered II and VI with their corresponding slip seats. The armchair is illustrated by William M. Hornor in Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (Washington, D.C., 1935) as plate 167 and the property of Mr. and Mrs. L. Caspar Wister. A dressing table with the same knee carving made as part of this suite of furniture is illustrated by Hornor also as the property of Mr. and Mrs. Wister. Other chairs from the set are known. Side chair number IIII with slip seat number V is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.1 Another side chair from the set is published as one of a pair by Joseph Kindig, The Philadelphia Chair: 1685-1785 (Harrisburg, 1978): no. 47.

The Gothic taste incorporated into the Rococo design of these chairs was popularized in Colonial America by the English pattern books of Matthew Darly and Thomas Chippendale.2 The splat is inspired by medieval architecture and rendered here as two tiers of Gothic pointed arches between outward splaying posts and beneath a broad crest rail. This unusual Gothic splat is found on other Philadelphia side chairs including a set with straight legs owned by James (1753-1795) and Elizabeth (Dawes) Morris (1746-1826) at Dawesfield, their country house outside of Philadelphia. An armchair from the set is illustrated by Hornor as the property of Lydia T. Morris.3 Two side chairs from Dawesfield were sold by a descendant at Sotheby’s, January 19, 2008, lot 185. Five side chairs from another closely related set were sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries, Americana Collection of the Late Mrs. J. Amory Haskell, Part 2, May 17-20, 1944, lot 367. Two other chairs from a third related set with seats upholstered over the rails were owned by William White, the first Bishop of Pennsylvania.4

1 See Morrison Heckscher, American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985): no. 60, p. 108.
2 See Matthew Darly, A New Book of Chinese, Gothic and Modern Chairs (London, 1751) and Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker’s Director (London, 1762).
3 See William M. Hornor, Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (Washington, D.C.: 1935, p. 166.
4 Referenced by Heckscher, p. 108.

Important Americana

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New York