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American Decorative Arts
Maker: Dick Poynor, American, 1802–1882
Maker Seat weaver: Will Poynor, American, 1869–ca. 1925

Side Chair

ca. 1870

Sugar maple and hickory with a white oak split seat

35 1/2 × 18 3/8 × 14 3/4 in. (90.17 × 46.673 × 37.465 cm)
Gift of Rick Warwick
Richard “Dick” Poynor was born a slave in Halifax Country, Virginia, where he lived with a family of well-established craftsmen, who, it is assumed, taught Dick turning and joinery skills. Sometime between 1850 and 1860, Dick obtained his freedom and settled in Williamson County, Tennessee. He earned a living making chairs, a craft he also taught his son James. Poynor’s chairs are noted for their gracefully curved mule-ear posts and triple-slat backs. This chair was originally made for Milton Meacham, a veteran of the Civil War who also lived in Williamson County. The split seat is an old replacement, woven in 1925 by Poynor’s grandson, Will Poynor.
Made in Williamson County, Tennessee
On view
19th century

Milton Meacham, Williamson, TN (); by inheritance to John M. Meacham, Willamson, TN (- ca. 1940); by inheritance to Florence Meacham Pewitt, Williamson, TN (); given to Rick Warwick, Franklin, TN, in 1980; gift to Yale University Art Gallery, 2007.


“Acquisitions, July 1, 2007–June 30, 2008,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2008): 171, 173, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.