Side chair

BFA Number




Current Owner

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
More details



Eastlake-style, gilded chair constructed with beech, birch, and cherry woods, with intricate carvings and an upholstered seat. The chair is square-backed with a tablet crest rail. The center of the crest rail is a carved panel with a floral design. The top component has a midgroove with equally spaced vertical notches extending from the line without touching the bottom of the top component of the crest rail, and the bottom component of the crest rail is a series of six arches. The tops of the rear stiles are reeded. On the arcade at the bottom of the crest rail, between the arches, are five identical, small carvings of four equidistant triangles that point inward around the circumference of a circle. The columns connect the tablet crest rail to the mid rail. The five small, turned columns with ring turning are cherry wood.

Where the reeding ends on the rear stiles, and parallel to the columns, are front-facing carvings in the wood with chamfered edges and a vertical, central line, two circles at the end points of the line. Where the mid rail meets the rear stiles are two horizontal lines, between which, repeated, are the four triangles pointed inward around the circle. The mid rail is a straight line, with a square piece at center, which arches back out to the rear stiles. A central, carved line follows the entire mid rail. At the center of the mid rail, the carved square piece is carved with four squares, each with one corner pointed outward, two rounded corners, and a fourth corner connected in the middle to a circle. A semi-circle with a beveled design protrudes from the bottom of the center square piece. The bottom of the arch of the mid rail is a series of concave grooves and flares where it meets the rear stile. The rear stiles from the meeting point of the mid rail arch to the top of the upholstered seat are concave.

The rectangular seat is upholstered, with a fabric of spiral curve vine flower design, and padded. The side rails of the chair have two horizontal, carved lines, between which is a horizontal curved groove. The lateral stretcher also has a carved, horizontal line at center. The side rails and lateral stretchers are connected at the front edge of the piece to a two-sided carving, one facing out from the side, the other front-facing. Each side has a flower carving and they are identical. The front rail of the chair is carved with circles. The front rail is arched and the spandrels are pierced. Between the arches along the bottom of the front rail are five semicircles within which are vertical lines with circles. The two front legs of the chair are turned with ring turning and tapered, and the two rear legs are stump.

Object use

Seating furniture

Object type



Kilborn Whitman & Company, manufacturer and retailer, 1876-1896

Basis of maker

Attributed to maker by Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 2001.

Place of origin

Boston, Massachusetts

Basis of origin

Kilborn Whitman & Company was a manufacturer and retailer of sofas, chairs, lounges, stools, tables, and stands active in Boston, Massachusetts from 1876 to 1896.



Basis of date

Dated about 1880 by Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 1987.




Beech; Birch; Cherry

Attributes & techniques

Gilding; Square-back chairs; Baluster legs; Gilding; Carving


Height 32 in. (81.3 cm), Width 16.88 in. (42.9 cm), Depth 18 in. (45.7 cm)

History of ownership

Previously owned by a private collector until around 1987, when the chair was acquired by the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.


Book: Anna Tobin D'Ambrosio, ed., Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, (Utica, New York: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, 1999): 132.



Current owner

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

Owner's accession number



Metadata and images digitized from the Decorative Arts Photographic Collection of the Winterthur Library. For reproduction requests or more information, contact DAPC at


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