Object Record

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Object ID 1940.048
Object Name Chair, Arm
Collection Furniture
Credit line Bequest of Mrs. Marguerite De Carron Read in Memory of Harmon P. Read
Date circa 1790
Year Range from 1785
Year Range to 1790
Made William Long
Description Early Federal-style armchair made from American ash and tulip poplar with a square back that has an open lyre motif splat, stepped crest rail, and two finials. The chair has a square seat frame with a bowed front and straight, round, reeded legs that terminate in spade feet. The arms are gently curved and reeded with scrolled knuckles. The corners of the frame have applied acanthus leaf decorative moldings. The arm pads and seat have been reupholstered in a peach silk brocade fabric. The chair is currently painted white and gilded but this is a nineteenth-century addition (according to paint analysis, the original paint color was a shade of blue-green or grey-green).

The chair bears two brass plaques with script text on the crest rail that give details of the chair's history. The plaque on the front bears the following inscription: "Chair of Gen. Washington which he presented to his old friend and colleague in the 1st Continental Congress George Read of / Delaware "The Signer." At the time the chair was given Washington was President and Chief Justice Read was U.S. Senator / from Delaware in the first Senate after the adoption of the U.S. Constitution which he and Washington had helped to frame." The plaque on the back details the chair's Read family provenance.
Dimensions H-35.5 W-21 D-20 inches
Dimension Details
Owned Read family
Provenance This chair was bequeathed to the Society in 1940 by Mrs. Marguerite de Carron Read of Albany, New York in memory of her late husband, Major Harmon Pumpelly Read (1860-1925). Major Harmon P. Read was the son of General John Meredith Read (1837-1896) and great-great grandson of George Read I.

A brass plaque on the back of the crest rail details the chair's family provenance as follows: " Hon. Geo. Read "The Signer" bequeathed this chair to his son, Hon. John Read, who left it to his son Chief Justice John Meredith Read who left it to his son His Excellency General John Meredith Read Knight Grand Cross of the Redeemer at whose death in 1896 it came into the possession of his eldest son, Major Harmon Pumpelly Read of the City of Albany."
Subjects Furniture
People Washington, George
Read I, George
Read, John Meredith
Read, Harmon Pumpelly
Search Terms George Read I
George Washington
Read Family
Eighteenth Century
William Long
Material American ash (primary); tulip poplar (secondary); silk brocade upholstery
Place of Origin Philadelphia, PA