A delicate form, this reclining chair is an early example of 19th century innovative furniture and, intended for reading, these chairs anticipated the adjustable forms of Victorian America.
In conception and design, the chair offered here is similar to a reclining chair labelled by William Hancock of Boston (see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 19th century America: Furniture and other Decorative Arts (1970), fig. 66). Unlike the Hancock chair, the arms of this chair are stationary, with the back and the seat sliding to recline. On the Hancock example, the back reclines, while the seat is stationary and a footrest slides from beneath the seat. Though the interpretations of the chairs are different, the overall design is quite similar, with related padded armrests, scrolled handholds and reeded legs.
A library chair in a private collection, also made in Boston circa 1830, shows a remarkable similarity in the execution of the legs to the chair offered here. With a large ring above a reeded tapering section over further double turnings fitted with identical castors, the work could be from the same shop as the chair offered here (see Stuart Feld, Boston in the Age of Neo-Classicism (New York, 2000), fig. 28).
All Boston made, their similar forms and designs suggest the interaction between cabinetmaking shops and an awareness of their competitor's products.