With exceptional surface, masterful construction and bold carving, this chair is a magnificent example of Philadelphia rococo cabinetmaking. This chair, along with a closely related pair of chairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the product of a known pattern of construction used in several shops in Philadelphia in the second half of the 18th century (see Heckscher, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art The Late Colonial Period: Queen Anne and Chippendale Styles (New York, 1985), p. 95, cat. 50). However, there are variations between these three chairs, indicating modifications on the overall common design. The confident construction and nuanced carving on this example sets it apart as arguably the most successful to survive of its type.
Overall, the pair of chairs at the MMA and this chair vary in height, as do the heights of the respective splat bases, associating these nearly identical chairs to different sets created by several shops and carvers. The seat frame of the single chair is pinned only once, as opposed to twice on the MMA chairs, a confident choice in the cabinetmaker's construction of the chair. The front and back seat rails on this chair are delicately shaped as opposed to the seat rails on the MMA chairs. The central shell on the front seat rail is carved in high relief with five robust lobes, a bold variation on the seven lobed shells on the MMA chairs. The front ball and claw feet are more articulated than those of the MMA chairs, with higher webbing and more dramatically carved talons supporting the acanthus leaf-carved cabriole legs. While cut from the same template as a number of related chairs, including those in the Metropolitan Museum, this chair is the most successful example of the form in quality of surface, construction and decoration.