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THE HERRESHOFF FAMILY SET OF FOUR FEDERAL CARVED MAHOGANY SIDE CHAIRS
Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more PROPERTY FROM A CONNECTICUT FAMILY
THE HERRESHOFF FAMILY SET OF FOUR FEDERAL CARVED MAHOGANY SIDE CHAIRS

ATTRIBUTED TO THE SHOP OF JOHN CARLILE & SONS, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, 1789-1803

Details
THE HERRESHOFF FAMILY SET OF FOUR FEDERAL CARVED MAHOGANY SIDE CHAIRS
ATTRIBUTED TO THE SHOP OF JOHN CARLILE & SONS, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, 1789-1803
39 ¼ in. high
Provenance
Possibly commissioned by John Brown (1736-1803) for the 1801 wedding of his daughter, Sarah Brown (1774-1846) and Charles Frederick Herreshoff II (1763-1819), Point Pleasant Farm, Poppasquash Point, Bristol, Rhode Island
Charles Frederick Herreshoff III (1809-1888), son of above, and his wife, Julia Ann Lewis (1811-1901), Point Pleasant Farm, Poppasquash Point and 142 Hope Street, Bristol, Rhode Island
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff (1848-1938), Bristol, Rhode Island, son, by gift from above in 1884
Algernon Sydney DeWolf Herreshoff (1886-1977), son
Halsey Chase Herreshoff (b. 1933), son
Sotheby’s New York, 17 June 1998, lot 1197
Literature
The Rhode Island Furniture Archive at the Yale University Art Gallery, RIF3006 (along with 4 additional chairs from the original set).
Special notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

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Lot Essay

As indicated by the chairs’ construction and details of the carved ornament, the set of four chairs was most likely made in the Providence shop of John Carlile & Sons. The kylix-carved splat was a popular design made by several shops in Providence and probably elsewhere in Rhode Island. While numerous examples survive today, only four, or possibly five, survive with the label of John Carlile & Sons and as the labelled chairs display consistency in construction and carving, the practices of this shop are readily identifiable. As seen on the labelled examples and the four chairs offered here, the side rails are joined to the rear stiles with through tenons, the medial stretchers are tenoned to the side stretchers and the inner corners of the front legs are chamfered. Furthermore, from the realistic crest leaf-carving with the central leaf overlapping the top bead of the crestrail to the central swags abutting the central ring and ten lobes on each side of the kylix, the carved details on the chairs offered here are very closely related to those on the labelled Carlile chairs. They differ in the execution of the rosettes and leaf-carved (rather than reeded) flaring base below the kylix, but given the overall similarities, such minor variations suggest the normal day-to-day variations in a shop with several woodworkers. For a full discussion on the Carlile labelled chairs, see Jennifer N. Johnson, catalogue entry, in Patricia E. Kane et al., Art & Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830 (New Haven, 2016), pp. 430-432, cat. 102.

The set of four chairs descended in the Herreshoff family of Bristol, Rhode Island and at the time of their sale in 1998, the last family owner, Halsey Chase Herreshoff, noted that the chairs were originally a set of eight owned by his great grandparents, Charles Frederick Herreshoff III (1809-1888) and Julia (Lewis) Herreshoff (1811-1901). As they were born after the chairs were made, the chairs were probably inherited from a previous generation. A likely occasion for their commission is the 1801 wedding of Herreshoff’s parents, Charles Frederick Herreshoff II (1763-1819) and Sarah Brown (1774-1846). An accomplished musician and later a celebrated scientist, she was the daughter of renowned Providence merchant John Brown (1736-1803). The couple married in Brown’s Power Street house and as a wedding gift, he gave the couple “the elegantly furnished Point Pleasant Farm homestead” in Bristol (see Richard V. Simpson, “Point Pleasant Farm,” Historic Bristol: Tales from an Old Rhode Island Seaport, 2008). With their kylix-carved splats and over-upholstered serpentine-front seats, these chairs would have been a fashionable addition to an early nineteenth-century interior and may have been ordered by John Brown to furnish this homestead. One of the chairs from the same original set was illustrated in Wendy Cooper, “The Purchase of Furniture and Furnishings by John Brown, Providence Merchant, Part II: 1788-1803,” The Magazine Antiques (April 1973), pp. 737, 738, fig. 5.

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