Elegant and superbly crafted, this side chair is a particularly refined expression of New London County furniture from the mid-eighteenth century. Its vasiform splat, angular cabriole legs, tripartite medial stretcher and rectangular rear stretcher are all features related to chairs attributed to the Lathrop shops of Wallingford and Norwich (Robert F. Trent with Nancy Lee Nelson, "A Catalogue of New London County Joined Chairs," The Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 50:4 (Fall 1985), pp. 79-93, nos. 17, 18, 20, 21, fig 16; Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur (Winterthur, DE, 1997), pp. 37-38, cat. 20).
Yet this chair, and the chair in the following lot, feature differences in design and construction that suggest the work of another shop in the region. Unlike the Lathrop chairs, these chairs have carved accents in the yoke crests, molded stiles, more bulbous splats, stay rails, more elaborately shaped seat rails and side stretchers of a completely different design. Similar treatment of the chair back is seen in an example attributed to Lyme (Minor Myers, Jr. and Edgar deN. Mayhew, New London County Furniture, 1640-1840 (New London, CT, 1974), p. 22, no. 14). Furthermore, the maker of the chairs in both this lot and the following lot pinned the splat to the crest and the shoe three times, a practice echoed in the joining of the side seat rails to the stiles and indicative of a fastidious craftsman.