Writing Arm Windsor Chair, ca. 1835
Appraised Value: $1,500 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:32)
Clocks & Watches, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Furniture
Director of American Furniture and Decorative Arts, Partner, Executive Vice President & Chief Auctioneer
GUEST: Growing up, it was always at our beach house at Sunset Beach in North Carolina. It sat in the front room, and my grandfather always sat at it. It was from my grandfather's family. And from what I understand, my ancestors, his family, in the late 1800s, maybe, had a shipping company out of Pensacola, Florida.
GUEST: So I know that there's some connection there, but not really sure much of anything else about it.
APPRAISER: This is sort of a late example of a form that we call a writing arm Windsor chair. And these chairs were first made... oh, in the United States I would say the last quarter of the 18th century. This particular chair I think in all likelihood may have been made in Pennsylvania. These Pennsylvania chairs often times have a classical motif with this very sort of broad vasiform splat. And the secondary wood-- on the drawers, for example-- is poplar, which is a wood that's indigenous to Pennsylvania and often used there. So it may have been manufactured in Pennsylvania. I'm thinking maybe about, well, maybe in the 1830s.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: So it's been around for a while.
APPRAISER: This is the original decoration with old surface. This is stencil decorated, and the background is grain painted to look like an exotic wood-- rosewood, for example. These chairs often times will have drawers in a variety of places. And here, we've got a drawer in the front of the writing surface. You've got a drawer on that side. And we've got one down here. This is an arrowback Windsor, referring to these spindles, which have this arrow form. The beauty of this is when I first saw it is that it hasn't been refinished. It's beautiful the way it is, scratches and all.
APPRAISER: Have you had the chair appraised in the past?
GUEST: No, we never knew because it's just been there.
APPRAISER: Well, at the furniture table we kind of did a little quiz, and we came up with a value, let's say for auction purposes, somewhere around $1,500.
APPRAISER: So it's not as though it's worth a great deal of money. And part of the reason for that is people say, "Well, it takes up a lot of room." "You know, I could put a sofa, the amount of room this thing takes up."
APPRAISER: But what I'm thinking is that, you know, you can sit in this chair, and you can put your laptop here and get to work. So don't tell me this isn't useful in a modern situation.
GUEST: Oh, I know, absolutely.
APPRAISER: So take good care of it.
GUEST: Thank you.
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