Southern Turned Great Chair, ca. 1730
This is a funky old chair that my grandmother had in her home. And I always liked it because it's sort of lopsided, and it's sort of one of a kind. It really looks very cool. And they were in central North Carolina, Wake county, Raleigh, in that area.
Okay. Obviously it's just something that she enjoyed too, and she held onto it. You think it came down in the family? Do you have deep roots in that part of the world?
I think so. I am pretty sure that her family probably came south in the 18th century sometime.
And set up shop in Raleigh and went from there.
It's a charming chair. I love the fact that it's... I think wonky is a word that comes to mind. It's just a little off kilter, but this is a really rare and interesting chair. The chair, I think, probably does have roots where your family does. I think the chair was probably made in North Carolina, possibly southern Virginia. And the history of this chair would take us all the way back, I'm thinking to the first half of the 18th century. So we're thinking 1720, 1740. Way before the Revolutionary War. And at a time when that part of the world is really rural and remote. This is a great touchstone, I think, to that part of our early history. These kind of turned chairs are among the earliest furniture forms that we see. The sort of great chairs of the 17th century lead into these early chairs. We call these great chairs, and they have history in the 17th century with the master's chairs and that sort of thing. And there are some details that I think are wonderful, and point to that. You've got this great little simple baluster turning on the rear stile, and that's mirrored on the lower part. It gives the chair great coherence. The support of the arm is a very simple tapered column. Without a lot of detail or adornment, that tends to be a very early detail. And the chair shows its age, but it comes down in remarkably good condition. Despite being a little wonky, it's really all there. And not only that, it has this great lustrous old color on it. The chair is composed almost entirely of ash, which is a kind of wood that takes turning very well. And it was used a lot in this kind of chair. And I think it's ash top to bottom. Everything about it is really pretty intact. I mean it's had some wear to the front rungs and legs, but the chair has survived really well, and not many have. Because that's a lot of history. You're talking upwards of 300 years. It currently has a rush seat in it. The original seat could have been hickory bark or some sort of woven split. So despite the fact that it has its bumps and so on, I do think it's something that an early collector, or even an institution would have a real interest in. I wouldn't do a thing to it, the condition's great, leave it just like it is, enjoy it. It'd be great to document it at one of the museums in North Carolina so you've got it recorded there. If you want to insure it, I would suggest a value of maybe $6,000.
I'm thrilled you brought it in here. Congratulations.
Thank you so much, this has been really terrific.
Being a North Carolinian myself, I'd love to see, it's like an old friend coming in. (laughing)
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