With its serpentine shape, shiplap construction and tryphid feet, this stool is an exceedingly rare example of Queen Anne Philadelphia furniture. Based on information given at the time of its sale at auction in the 1970s, this stool appears to have been owned by members of the Waln family of Philadelphia and Walnford, New Jersey who were descended from the renowned cabinetmaker, Joseph Armitt (d. 1747). At the auction, the stool was noted to have descended in the Wistar and Vaux families and was accompanied by an early nineteenth-century silhouette of a woman entitled Mrs. Waln when Miss Morris (fig. 1). The only Waln-Morris marriage found at this time was that between Jacob Shoemaker Waln (1776-1850) and Sarah Morris (1788-1862) in 1804. Their daughter, Mary Morris Waln, married her cousin, Richard Vaux (1816-1895), the son of Roberts Vaux (1786-1836) and Margaret Wistar (1792/3-1886), thereby providing a link to both the Wistar and Vaux families. Jacob Shoemaker Waln was the son of Richard Waln (c.1737-1809) and Elizabeth Armitt (c.1742-1790), the daughter of the cabinetmaker, Joseph Armitt. Interestingly, related furniture descended in the family of Jacobs brother, Nicholas Waln, who inherited is fathers estate, Walnford. Nicholas great-grandson, Richard Waln Meirs (b. 1866), owned several pieces of furniture that William MacPherson Hornor attributed to his ancestor, Joseph Armitt (William Horner, Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture, (Washington, DC, 1977), pls. 71, 23-24, 37 and 39). For more on these lines of the Waln family, see John W. Jordan, ed., Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Philadephia, vol. 1 (New York, 1911), pp. 209-215.
A very similar stool, possibly its mate, sold at Sothebys, New York, Property of Rear Admiral Edward P. Moore and Barbara Bingham Moore, September 26, 2008, lot 117.