The crewelwork on this chair, featuring a stylized carnation surrounded by flowers and strawberries, has been identified as the work of Elizabeth (Craft) White (1747-1839) of Brookline, Massachusetts. Virtually identical crewelwork appears on an armchair and three side chairs of a different design, as well as two hand firescreens. This group of furniture is discussed in Richard H. Randall, Jr., American Furniture in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (1965), p. 187. The armchair was previously in the collection of Benjamin and Cora Ginsburg that sold, Christie’s, New York, 14-15 October 1983, lot 724; one of the side chairs is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; another side chair was illustrated in Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury, vols. I and II (New York, 1928), no. 2176.
Elizabeth (Craft) White, or “Aunt White” as she was affectionately known, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1747, the daughter of Deacon Ebenezer (1705-1791) and Susanna (White) (1713-1752) Craft. In 1808 she married Caleb White in nearby Brookline, Massachusetts, where she remained for the majority of her life. Widowed early, she wrote poems and kept a diary for most of her ninety two years (James Crafts and William Crafts, The Crafts Family (Northampton, 1893), pp. 166-168).