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Continuous-bow Windsor armchair

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Inscription

The chair bears the following handwritten label on the underside of the seat: "This chair belonged to my grandmother Esther Frothingham Emerson / and undoubtingly was given to her by her father / Major Benj. Frothingham sometime after her marriage / to Daniel Emerson in 1797, made by him or in his / workshop at Charlestown, Mass. They never could have / been able financially to have bought a chair of such fine / and unusual craftmanship. It was always highly / valued by my father as was his grandfather's writing desk. / William Frothingham Bradbury must have sat in it / many times in his years at Hollis with his uncle when / in his teens and early twenties. / When a little girl I used to sit curled up in it reading. / Frances Emerson." Also on the underside of the seat is a newspaper clipping which reads: "Not far from Boston lives the great- / granddaughter of Major Benjamin Froth- / ingam, distinguished cabinetmaker and / friend of Washington. One of her most / prizd possessions is a Windsor chair / which originally belonged to the major's / daughter and is believed to have been / made by his hands/ The Prowler had / the privilege of examining this sturdy / piece of furniture and was delighted by / the [illegible] and workmanship. It is an / armchair, with a bow back which hoops / over to form the grooved arms. The nine / spindles in the back are delicately turned / and shaped. It has a saddle seat and / flared legs, carved in the bamboo pattern, / with H stretchers. The back is of oak / but the seat and legs appear to be of / different wood, possibly hickory. In / about a century and a half of existence / the chair has travelled from Charlestown, / Mass., to Hollis, N.H., then to Michigan / and finally back to its native State. / M.E.P."

Provenance

History of ownership: The chair bears the following handwritten label on its underside: This chair belonged to my grandmother Esther Frothingham Emerson / and undoubtingly was given to her by her father / Major Benj. Frothingham sometime after her marriage / to Daniel Emerson in 1797, made by him or in his / workshop at Charlestown, Mass. They never could have / been able financially to have bought a chair of such fine / and unusual craftmanship. It was always highly / valued by my father as was his grandfather's writing desk. / William Frothingham Bradbury must have sat in it / many times in his years at Hollis with his uncle when / in his teens and early twenties. / When a little girl I used to sit curled up in it reading. / Frances Emerson. There is also a newspaper clipping repeating the history that it had descended from Maj. Benjamin Fothingham to his granddaughter, having been moved to Hollis, N.H., in the intervening years. Esther Frothingham Emerson (1770-1849) married the Rev. Daniel Emerson (1771-1808) in 1797 in Charlestown; 1960, purchased by the Museum (Accession Date January 14, 1960)

Credit Line

Annie A. Hawley Bequest Fund

about 1798–1805

Object Place for Label

Connecticut-Rhode Island border region, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 199

Dimensions

Overall: 98.1 x 43.8 x 44.5 cm (38 5/8 x 17 1/4 x 17 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

60.7

Medium or Technique

Ash, pine, maple

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Furniture, Seating and Beds