With distinctive deeply webbed feet, this easy chair may have been carved by John Welch (1711-1789), the most prolific carver of eighteenth-century Boston. The feet are closely related to those on a side chair made for the Bromfield family, which features the same standardized shell carving on the knees and through its crest ornament can be linked to the hand of Welch (fig. 1). These feet represent a development from Welch's slightly earlier renditions of ball-and-claw feet as seen on the set of chairs made for Charles Apthorp. While based on the Apthorp models, these 1740s feet are slightly bigger and the webbing covers a greater area of the ball (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), pp. 266, 275, 279-280, figs. 1, 9, 10, 16-17).
As detailed in the 1959 invoice from Israel Sack, Inc., this easy chair was formerly part of the collection of George S. Bryant (b. 1873). A lawyer and Judge, Bryant married Adele (Farrell) (b. 1877) in 1899 and the couple lived on North Cliff Road in Ansonia, Connecticut. Illustrating the Colonial Revival taste, interior shots of his home were published in 1921 and furnishing a "sleeping room" with pieces in the Queen Anne style is an easy chair partially hidden by a bed. Its upholstered form is identical to the chair offered here and it is almost certainly the same chair. After his death the chair passed to his widow and subsequently their son from whom it was purchased by Israel Sack, Inc. (Israel Sack, invoice, 23 January 1959, the Joseph K. Ott Papers; US Federal Census Records for 1900, 1910, 1930; [American Homecrafts Company], Modern Connecticut Homes and Homecrafts (New York, 1921), p. 113.).