This backstool's old surface and original upholstery foundations make it a remarkable and rare survival of mid-eighteenth century Boston furniture. With raised talons and deep webbing, the feet are exceptionally well-carved and relate closely to forms attributed to the city's leading carver at the time, John Welch (1711-1789). Virtually identical feet, for example, are seen on a set of chairs made for the Fayerweather family with carving attributed to Welch (Leigh Keno, Joan Barzilay Freund, and Alan Miller, "The Very Pink of the Mode: Boston Georgian Chairs, Their Export, and Their Influence," American Furniture 1996, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1996), p. 279, figs. 16, 17).
The vigorous form of the feet, along with the height of the back and the broad expanse of the knees, make this backstool a particularly robust illustration of Boston's Chippendale style. Sharing the same carved feet, stretcher design and chamfering to the rear legs, this backstool appears to be either en suite with or made in the same shop as another backstool and easy chair (Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, New Jersey, 1984), p. 61, fig. 1.53). All three forms have been previously attributed to Newport, but with the deep webbing on the feet, medial and rear stretchers lacking rings and under-cut rear feet, they illustrate the regional preferences of Boston craftsmen (for more on differences between Newport and Boston chairs, see Jennifer N. Johnson, "The Chairmaking and Upholstery Trades of Colonial and Federal Rhode Island," in Patricia E. Kane et al., Art & Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830 (New Haven, 2016), pp. 70-77).