THE REYNELL-COATES FAMILY QUEEN ANNE CARVED WALNUT INCURVATE COMPASS-SEAT SIDE CHAIR
THE REYNELL-COATES FAMILY QUEEN ANNE CARVED WALNUT INCURVATE COMPASS-SEAT SIDE CHAIR
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Please note lots marked with a square will be move… Read more PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE FOUNDATION
THE REYNELL-COATES FAMILY QUEEN ANNE CARVED WALNUT INCURVATE COMPASS-SEAT SIDE CHAIR

THE CARVING POSSIBLY BY SAMUEL HARDING (D. 1758) OR NICHOLAS BERNARD (D. 1789), PHILADELPHIA, 1740-1755

Details
THE REYNELL-COATES FAMILY QUEEN ANNE CARVED WALNUT INCURVATE COMPASS-SEAT SIDE CHAIR
THE CARVING POSSIBLY BY SAMUEL HARDING (D. 1758) OR NICHOLAS BERNARD (D. 1789), PHILADELPHIA, 1740-1755
the slip seat marked XII, the frame marked II
41 ½ in. high
Provenance
John (1708-1784) and Mary (Coates) (1707-1773) Reynell, Philadelphia
Probably thence by descent in the Coates family
Joe Kindig, York, Pennsylvania
Mrs. Walter B. Robb, Buffalo, New York
Israel Sack, Inc., New York
Literature
Edith Gaines, "The Robb Collection of American Furniture, Part II," The Magazine Antiques (April 1968), frontispiece.
Israel Sack, Inc., American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, vol. V, pp. 1218-1219, P4163.
Israel Sack, Inc., American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, vol. VI, p. 35, P4163.
William MacPherson Hornor, Jr., Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (reprint, Washington D.C., 1977), pl. XV.
J. Michael Flanigan, American Furniture in the Kaufman Collection (Washington, D.C., 1986), p. 20 (referenced).
Luke Beckerdite, "An Identity Crisis: Philadelphia and Baltimore Furniture Styles of the Mid Eighteenth Century," Shaping a National Culture: The Philadelphia Experience, 1750-1800, Catherine E. Hutchins, ed. (Winterthur, Delaware, 1994), p. 262, fig. 20.
Special notice
Please note lots marked with a square will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) on the last day of the sale. Lots are not available for collection at Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services until after the third business day following the sale. All lots will be stored free of charge for 30 days from the auction date at Christie’s Rockefeller Center or Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Operation hours for collection from either location are from 9.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday-Friday. After 30 days from the auction date property may be moved at Christie’s discretion. Please contact Post-Sale Services to confirm the location of your property prior to collection. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn). Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information.

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Lot Essay

Hailed as “the summit of Queen Anne chairmaking” and “a supreme statement of the curvilinear style,” this chair and others from the same original set are among the most elaborate to survive from mid-eighteenth century Philadelphia (J. Michael Flanigan, American Furniture in the Kaufman Collection (Washington, D.C., 1986), p. 20; Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, emuseum online database, acc. no. 1970-8, 2). The rounded stiles, dramatic spooning of the solid splat and incurvate seat rail shaping are all features that were both labor intensive and required surplus primary woods. As such, this model would have been among the most expensive available at the time. Adding to the cost, the carved ornament appears to be the work of Samuel Harding (d. 1758) or his probable protégé Nicholas Bernard (d. 1789), Philadelphia's most significant carvers working before 1750. Details in execution seen on this chair that relate to work by these carvers include wide paneled shells with scrolls at the base, knees centered by three wide flutes, the central one stopping short at the top with a vertical gouge cut, broadly rendered acanthus leaves with thin veining marks, and leaf tips with parallel gouged shading marks (Luke Beckerdite, "An Identity Crisis: Philadelphia and Baltimore Furniture Styles of the Mid Eighteenth Century," Shaping a National Culture: The Philadelphia Experience, 1750-1800, Catherine E. Hutchines, ed. (Winterthur, Delaware, 1994), pp. 254-264, figs. 9-23). In 2004, Beckerdite and Alan Miller identified Nicholas Bernard as a close follower of Harding, noting that if he did not train under Harding, he worked in the master's shadow. Closely related acanthus-leaf knee carving attributed to Bernard is seen on a number of forms, including a late 1740s high chest and an early 1750s sideboard table (Luke Beckerdite and Alan Miller, “A Table's Tale: Craft, Art, and Opportunity in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia,” American Furniture 2004, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2004), pp. 4, 8-13, figs. 13, 20, 22).

This chair is part of a set that descended from the Coates family of Philadelphia and may have been originally made for Quaker merchant John Reynell (1708-1784) who married Mary Coates (1707-1773) in 1736. There are at least five other examples from the same set known, all of which are in museum collections: Winterthur Museum (acc. no. 60.1177) (fig. 1) that has a splat bearing identical graining to that on the chair offered here; a pair donated to Colonial Williamsburg with one now owned by the Chipstone Foundation (Colonial Williamsburg, emuseum online database, acc. no. 1970-8,2); another pair part of the Promised Gift of George M. and Linda H. Kaufman to the National Gallery of Art (Flanigan, op. cit.); another chair, owned in 1935 by William Morrison Coates, which may be a seventh example or a duplicate of one cited above is illustrated in William MacPherson Hornor, Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (Washington D.C., 1935), pl. 82. The last family owner of the pair donated to Colonial Williamsburg noted that family tradition maintained that they were made for the marriage of Reynell and Mary Coates. The couple did not have children of their own, but adopted her brother’s sons, thus accounting for their descent in the Coates family (letter, Estelle L. Sharp to Milo Naeve, 31 July 1970, object file for #1970-8, 2, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation).

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