This easy chair, intact with its vivid Irish-stitch needlework cover, is justly celebrated as one of the most highly prized examples of 18th-century American upholstered furniture still in existence. The work reflects the collaboration of three individuals: the needlewoman, in all probability a member of the upper class who commissioned the frame; the chair maker; and the upholsterer who constructed the foundation and attached the embroidery. The latter would also make certain that the chair was fully stuffed to ensure its occupant the utmost comfort. On this example, one of only three known with stitched covers, the back is upholstered with an English stamped harrateen, a woolen fabric patterned with meandering bands, butterflies, and flowers.

In 18th-century America, upholstery work was the principal decorative arts-related profession in which women could earn a livelihood. The relatively undisturbed frame of this chair presents an extraordinary record of colonial upholstery which, in turn, contributes toward its significance in establishing historical accuracy in documenting the upholstery of period furniture.


  • Title: Easy Chair
  • Creator: American
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Date Created: 1750 - 1800
  • Location Created: Eastern Massachusetts, U.S.A.
  • Physical Dimensions: w83.2 x h115.6 x d80.6 cm (overall)
  • Type: Furniture
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Mahogany, with maple, eastern white pine, original wool needelework on linen canvas
  • Period: Rococo Style; Chippendale Style
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

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