Important Chippendale Carved Mahogany Compass Seat Side Chair, Attributed to John Townsend (1733-1809), Newport, Rhode Island, circa 1770
Important Chippendale Carved Mahogany Compass Seat Side Chair
Attributed to John Townsend (1733-1809)
Newport, Rhode Island
Height 38 in.
Overall fine condition. Retains a nice mellow finish. Overall general marks, bruises, tiny losses and wear as to be expected with age and use. Front center and inner talons with wear. Minor wear to upholstered seat.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
This side chair and its accompanying seat frame is marked II and VII respectively. A pair of chairs from this set were sold at Sotheby's, New York, Triumphant Grace: Important Americana from the Collection of Barbara and Arun Singh, January 25, 2020, lot 1083. Another chair appearing to stem from the set was sold at Sotheby Park Bernet, New York, November 18-20, 1976, lot 1004 [RIF2806]. One other formerly owned by Israel Sack, Inc. is illustrated by John Kirk in American Chairs: Queen Anne and Chippendale (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), no. 175, p. 136, [RIF1177].
Displaying serpentine crest rails with scratch-carved diaper pattern pendants, interlaced openwork splats, balloon seats with wide rails, and front cabriole legs with rounded knees and claw and ball feet, these chairs closely follow the pattern of a set of side chairs made by the Newport cabinetmaker, John Townsend (1733-1809). Two chairs numbered III and X from the Townsend set descended directly in his family until they were sold at Christie’s, Important American Furniture, Folk Art and Silver, January 19, 2018, lot 161. Two other identical chairs descended from John Townsend to his daughter Mary (Townsend) Brinley and then to her niece, Ellen F. Townsend (see The Magazine Antiques (June 1937): fig. 3, p. 308). They are now in the collection of the Newport Restoration Foundation (inv. no. 1999.537.1-.2). Two other side chairs from this set are in a private collection and illustrated in a Leigh Keno American Antiques advertisement in The Magazine Antiques for September 1996.
Similar crosshatching is found on a card table with John Townsend’s label currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see Morrison Heckscher, American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985, cat. no. 100). The distinctive claw and ball feet with their elongated balls gripped by articulated talons devoid of webbing relate directly to those featured on the card table signed and dated by Townsend (see Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards, fig. 3.21, p. 109).