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American Decorative Arts

Side Chair

ca. 1700


50 1/4 × 13 3/4 × 15 3/16 in. (127.6 × 35 × 38.5 cm)
seat: 19 × 17 1/8 in. (48.2 × 43.5 cm)
Library transfer
This chair is typical of the luxurious caned chairs that were being imported from England in the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries. Walnut was a fashionable wood for furniture around 1700. This chair is made of beech that has been stained dark to simulate the look of walnut. The Reverend James Pierpont, one of the founders of Yale College, purportedly owned the chair.
Made in England
On view
18th century

Said to have been the property of the Reverend James Pierpont (d. 1714) and reported to have been in the 1742 Yale Library.


Edwin Oviatt, Beginnings of Yale, 1701–1726 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1916), 133, pl. 20.

Patricia E. Kane, 300 Years of American Seating Furniture Chairs and Beds from the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1976), 56-57, no. 34, ill.

Olga K. Preisner and Hedy B. Landman, The England of William Penn, 1644–1718: An Exhibition Organized in Recognition of the Tercentary of William Penn’s First Landing in America, exh. cat. (University Park, Pa.: Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, 1982), 52, fig. 51.

Dennis Andrew Carr, American Colonial Furniture: Guide to the Collection, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2004), 4–5, 16, fig. 5.

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.