Published: January 15, 2019
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — A newly discovered circa 1755 Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany easy wing chair led Pook & Pook’s January 11–12 Americana and International sale, selling for $183,000, including buyer’s premium. The chair featured an arched crest, flaring wings, horizontal conical arm rests, compass seat and acanthus-carved front legs terminating in ball and claw feet and flaring rear legs with pronounced pad feet. According to furniture historian Alan Miller, “This chair is the only Philadelphia claw foot easy chair to have surfaced with fully cabriole rear legs… These rear legs probably indicate that the chair maker — at least the one responsible for the rear legs — was a recent immigrant bringing his training and construction habits from England or Ireland. The carver of the knees, while not identifiable by name, is a relatively prolific Philadelphia carver of the 1750s and early 1760s… They were responsible for a good deal of case furniture carving.”
Reached after the sale, owner and auctioneer Ron Pook said, “There are several examples like that, but nothing exactly like it. The Irish back leg — it looked the carver stepped off the boat and that was the first thing he carved in Philadelphia. It was very bold, very honest.”
The consignor of the chair had no idea that it had any value, according to Pook. “She just brought it in,” he said. “Didn’t know it was going to do well.”
The chair was pursued by four phone bidders and sold to a local dealer bidding on behalf of a client.
Watch a for a full report in a future issue.
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