With its extensive carved ornamentation and close similarities to English examples, the side chair offered here illustrates the epitome of the Boston carver's craft. The design of its splat and knee carving appears on two groups of seating forms; one group was made in England and probably served as the prototype for the second group made in Boston. While the design is similar on all chairs, differences in wood use and the execution of the carving distinguish the two groups. This chair falls squarely into the Boston-made group. The English-made chairs in this school all contain beech for their secondary woods, gouged carving, and fluting of varying heights. In contrast, as this chair illustrates, the Boston-made chairs employ American woods, gouged and veined carving and fluting of equal heights (see Beckerdite, "Carving Practices in Eighteenth-Century Boston," Old-Time New England: New England Furniture (West Hanover, Massachusetts, 1987), pp. 123-134; Yehia, "Ornamental Carving on Boston Furniture of the Chippendale Style," Boston Furniture of the Eighteenth Century (Boston, 1974), pp. 201-204; Roque, American Furniture at Chipstone (Madison, Wisconsin, 1984), cat. 58, p. 134; Fairbanks et al., Paul Revere's Boston: 1735-1818 (Boston, 1975), pp. 50-51, cat. 53, 54).
A seemingly identical chair in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, descended in the Moses Gill family) may be from the same set as the example offered here unpublished, MFA, B, 1996.52). Together, these chairs hairy-paw feet and use of oak set them apart from the group Boston chairs discussed above. Another Boston group of chairs with simpler splats and same knee carving also bear white oak rear seat rails and feature identical bold hairy-paw carved feet (see Evans and Richards, New England Furniture at Winterthur (Winterthur, 1997), cat. 58, pp. 104-106).