This shell-eared side chair boasts the linear carving style of Nicholas Bernard and well illustrates the Philadelphia Rococo aesthetic of the 1750s or early 1760s. Bernard's relief- and incised-carved style is evident with the use of small incised rondels accenting motifs in the splat and crestrail; similar accents are seen on a sideboard table with carving attributed to Bernard at Winterthur Museum. Furthermore, the knee carving is headed by three repeated C-shaped gouges and sparing use of a punchwork tool, details associated with Bernard's workmanship. These forms including this chair pre-date Bernard's partnership with Martin Jugiez, beginning in 1763, after which Bernard assumed the majority of the business and bookkeeping aspects of the operation (see Luke Beckerdite and Alan Miller, A Table's Tale: Craft, Art and Opportunity in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2004), p. 13, figs. 20-21; Christie's, New York, Property from the Collection of Mrs. J. Insley Blair, 21 January 2006, lot 528).
The distinctive and elaborately carved splat shape occurs in other Philadelphia-made chairs, including a compass-seat side chair carved by the "Garvan" carver and made for the Waln-Ryerss family (Christie's, New York, 4 December 2003, lot 1; William MacPherson Hornor, Jr., Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture (Washington D.C., 1935), pls. 41, 326, 328; Joseph Downs, American Furniture Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods In the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum (New York, 1952), fig. 51; Charles F. Hummel, A Winterthur Guide to American Chippendale Furniture: Middle Atlantic and Southern Colonies (New York, 1976), pp. 72-73, 135, figs. 67, 127).