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John Aitken, American (born Scotland), c. 1760/65 - 1839. Designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, American (born England), 1764 - 1820. Decorated by George Bridport, American (born England), 1783 - 1819

The sleek profile, proportion, and painted decoration of this chair are all directly modeled on those depicted in ancient Greek painting, pottery, and sculpture and in Roman architecture. The sweeping curves of its legs and back encouraged sitters to slouch in an alluring way.

This chair is one element of a suite of furniture made for William and Mary Waln, a prominent Philadelphia couple. When designing their house in 1805 and 1806, Mary insisted that its architect, B. Henry Latrobe, work with her to design furniture for the most important rooms—the two drawing rooms that overlooked the expansive garden. She wanted the interiors, the floor plans, and the exterior to be an integrated expression of the aesthetics that were all the rage in Philadelphia, and indeed the United States, in the early 1800s.

Latrobe enlisted a team of Philadelphia artisans to carry out Mary’s forward-thinking vision, and the result achieved the theatricality she desired.


Object Details

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