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Armchair

1740–1760

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art

Like the Newport side chair in this gallery, the undulating lines of this chair mark a change from earlier, more linear forms of furniture made of turned elements and flat panels to a far more complex assembly of sawn and richly carved elements. This armchair, with its scrolled arms, multiple shell carvings, and vividly grained walnut, would have been a terrifically expensive luxury item when it was new, affordable only to prosperous merchants and landowners. One of the wealthiest cities in colonial America and, correspondingly, a leading center of fashionable cabinetwork, Philadelphia provided talented cabinetmakers the opportunity to produce exceptionally fine examples of furniture.

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