Lot 791
  • 791

Very Fine and Rare Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair, Possible workshop of Thomas Tufft (1740-1788), Philadelphia, Circa 1770

8,000 - 12,000 USD
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  • Label reading LT-GE-78-7-6a, label reading LT-GE-78-7-6b and partial old label with red border
  • mahogany
  • Height 38 3/4 in.
Label reading LT-GE-78-7-6a, label reading LT-GE-78-7-6b and partial old label with red border; retains a dark historic surface.


Joe Kindig Jr. and Son, York, Pennsylvania.


Joseph K. Kindig, III., The Philadelphia Chair, (York, PA: Historical Society of York County, 1978), fig. 56.


Overall fine condition. Retains a desirable dark, rich historic surface. Wear commensurate with age and use. There are visible nail holes to the interior and undersides of the seat rails suggesting that the chair was previously upholstered in a manner other than the slip seat which it currently retains. The slip seat, while period, may be a marriage. The proper right side of the crestrail at the junction with the stile was cracked and reglued. There are some age cracks to the back side of the proper left stile at the junction with the tenon. The proper left front knee has experienced abrasions and a dent to the carving. The proper right front knee is also worn and abraded. It is not overly significant but it is noticeable. The talons on the feet are abraded and worn.
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

Featuring a trefoil-pierced splat pattern, stiles with lozenge carving, C-scroll skirt, pendant and knee brackets taken from Chippendale’s Director1, this side chair represents a richly embellished version of an extremely popular chair design in Colonial Philadelphia undoubtedly made by multiple cabinet shops. A chair from the same set is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston Museum of Fine Arts.2 A set of lozenge-carved chairs with similar treatment of the back but variations in the carving of the crest, seat rail, knees and feet is in the collection of Winterthur Museum and was formerly in the collection of Howard Reifsnyder.3 A set of lozenge-carved chairs with similar treatment of the back but variations in the carving of the crest, seat rail, knees and feet is at the White House.4 Another chair was sold in these room from the George Parker collection.5

Two chairs from a related set attributed to Thomas Tufft (died 1788) were sold in these rooms, Property from a Private Collection, January 18, 2003, sale 7866, lot 909. Two other chairs from that set descended in the Smith-Marsh family and were sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 16-17, 1999, sale 7253, lot 843. An additional chair with a history in the Smith-Marsh family is pictured in American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, Vol. VII, P5026, p. 1785. Two others are in the collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Three similar chairs bear the label of James Gillingham (1736-1781), a cabinetmaker working on Second Street in Philadelphia from 1768 to 1773.6 Other variations are in the collections of Yale University, Colonial Williamsburg, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Winterthur Museum. Several other examples are illustrated in William Hornor, Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture, 1977, pls. 342-346, 348-9.

1 Thomas Chippendale, The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker’s Director, London, 1754, pls. XIII, XIIII and XXIV.
2 See Morrison Heckscher, American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985, no. 56, p. 102-3, and Edwin Hipkiss, no. 88.
2 See Joseph Downs, American Furniture (New York, 1952, fig. 41).
4 Acc. 970.670.1, and .2.
5 Sotheby’s, New York, The Highly Important Americana Collection of George S. Parker II from the Caxambas Foundation, January 19, 2017, sale 9605, lot 2114,
6 Luke Vincent Lockwood, Colonial Furniture in America, 1926, Volume II, p. 94.