Side chair

BFA Number




Current Owner

Gore Place Society
More details



Empire side chair, also known as an elastic chair, from a design patented by Samuel Gragg. Made of ash and hickory. A variation of klismos chair in which continuous bentwood pieces form the rear stiles, side seat rails, and front legs. The rectangular back has a modified yoke-back crest rail and squared shoulders. The back is constructed of five vertical slats bent into a more dramatic curve than the rear stiles. The center slat widens from bottom to top. The trapezoidal seat is constructed with pinned mortise and tenon joints. The seat surface is produced with eleven slats, running front to back, that are dovetailed on each side and nailed. The chair has a thick front seat rail. The front legs curve in a sabre shape. The curved back legs rake back. The sides and back of the chair are each supported by two stretchers. A connected, double stretcher forms a concave curve between the front legs.

The chair is painted yellow with dark brown outlines, flanked by a lighter brown line in some areas. Peacock feathers are painted in the center of the crest rail and on the central slat. There is painted foliage on the tops of the rear stiles. On the seat front, there are five rectangular sections of lined, ombre painting that fades from dark brown to yellow.

Object use

Seating furniture

Object type



Gragg, Samuel S., chairmaker, 1772-1855

Basis of maker

Brand on underside of front seat rail, measuring 0.75 in. by 1.875 in. (1.905 cm by 4.763 cm): [S.GRAGG BOSTON / PATENT].

Place of origin

Boston, Massachusetts

Basis of origin

Samuel Gragg was active in Boston circa 1800-circa 1837.



Basis of date

Date range provided by current owner.




Ash; Hickory

Attributes & techniques

Slat-back chairs; Sabre legs; Painting

Marks, signatures, inscriptions

Brand on the underside of the front seat rail, measuring 0.75 in. by 1.875 in. (1.9 cm by 4.8 cm): [S.GRAGG BOSTON. / PATENT].


Height 33.437 in. (84.9 cm), Height to top of seat rail 17 in. (43.2 cm), Width 18.125 in. (46 cm), Depth 26.437 in. (67.1 cm)



Current owner

Gore Place Society


Gift of Mr. P. Wick, 1962

Owner's accession number



For reproduction requests or more information, contact Gore Place at 781-894-2798 or through its website,


Photographed by the staff of the Boston Furniture Archive, June 2014.

Date digitized


Date modified


All materials are copyrighted by Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library or by participating institutions.

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