Tall Easy Chair

Artist/Maker: Unknown

Created: 1800-1810

Origin/Purchase: Mid-Atlantic

Materials: mahogany; maple and poplar

Dimensions: 147.3 × 73 × 59.7 (58 × 28 3/4 × 23 1/2 in.)

Location: Parlor

Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Thomas Jefferson Randolph; by gift to the University of Virginia; by loan to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation since 1926

Accession Number: 1926-1

Historical Notes: This exceptionally tall easy chair has a high, curved barrel back, no wings, and reeding on the turned arms and front legs. The rear, slightly curving saber legs are uncarved. The red leather upholstery is a replacement of the original. The unusual height of the back may indicate that the chair had a ceremonial purpose. Tradition says that it was used by Jefferson while he served as vice president, although no documentation is known to support this claim.

The form of the chair was influenced by Thomas Sheraton, whose publication The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book popularized the use of carved reeding on the arms and legs of furniture. By 1810 the motif, which had its origins in ancient Rome, was popular in America.[1] This chair may have been derived from Sheraton's Plate 8, "Various easy Chairs with their sizes in Inches."[2]

-Text from Stein, Worlds, 272


  1. ^ See examples published in Charles Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum (New York: Bonanza Books, 1978), 175-78.
  2. ^ Thomas Sheraton, The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing-Book, ed. Charles F. Montgomery and Wilfred P. Cole (1802; reprint, New York: Praeger, 1970), pl. 8.