Fauteuil en Cabriolet

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Fauteuils en Cabriolet. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc. Artist/Maker: Unknown[1]

Created: ca. 1785

Origin/Purchase: Paris

Materials: Painted Beech

Dimensions: 33 x 22 1/4 x 18 1/2 in.

Location: Parlor

Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Virginia and Nicholas Philip Trist; by descent by Charles B. Eddy, Jr.; by bequest to Mrs. Charles B. Eddy, Jr. (now Mrs. Joseph C. Cornwall); by gift to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1988

Accession Number: 1964-36-1; 1988-2

Artist/Maker: Unknown

Created: ca. 1785

Origin/Purchase: Paris

Materials: Painted Beech

Dimensions: 34 x 22 1/4 x 20 in.

Location: Parlor

Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by purchase to John A.G. Davis at the Dispersal sale in 1827; by gift to Martha Jefferson Minor; by descent to Mrs. Jacqueline A. Caskie; by sale to [1946-3-2] William MacCorkle and [1946-3-1] Mrs. Hollins N. Randolph; by purchase to Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Accession Number: 1946-3-1; 1946-3-2

Historical Notes:Two pairs of related unstamped and unattributed fauteuils are known from a suite of eighteen charis that Jefferson probably owned used in the dining room and adjacent petit salon in the Hotel de Langeac.[2] These chairs, typical of the Louis XVI period, may have been made by Jacques Upton, who made a great deal of furniture for Jefferson. Upton, a menuisier, was made a master in 1782 and had a shop on the rue de Chaillot not far from the Hotel de Langeac.[3]

Jefferson's orginal set was comprised of ten chaises, six large fauteuils, and two bergeres, all upholstered in blue silk, presumably damask. These two pairs of armchairs feature trapezoidal and oval backs and deeply fluted legs, arms, and crest rail. At Monticello, they may have been used in the Parlor or family sitting room.

One of these chairs, with a slightly curving oval back, was the last chair in which Jefferson sat before he died. Immediately after his death on July 4, 1826, his grandson-in-law, Nicholas P. Trist, carved Jefferson's initials in the inside of the chair's left arm. Another chair like it is in Monticello's collection.


  1. This article is based on Stein, Worlds, 302-303.
  2. 1790 Grevin Packing List. An explanation and summary of its contents is available in PTJ 18:35-39.
  3. Comte Francois de Salverte, Les Ebenistes du CVIII siecle: leurs oeuvres et leurs marquest (Paris: F. De Nobele, 1985), 322.

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