With grand low proportions, bevelled wings, outscrolling arms, cone-shaped supports, and a bowed front rail, this chair possesses all of the classic stylistic features of the form as it was made in Philadelphia from the mid-1750s. Thought to have been reserved for those in poor health, aged, and pregnant women, easy chairs were usually placed in bedchambers and sometimes fitted with chamber pots. Extensively upholstered, they were expensive to fabricate as with other upholstered furniture such as beds and sofas they were the most highly valued items in a household.
In its contemporary setting, the upholstery on the frame would probably have been completed in a manner similar to its appearance in the illustration here, emphasizing the great sweeping of the wings and arms, and the gradual outward cant of the back and sides. The cushion would have probably been more robust, reaching to the top of the arm-support cones (Trent, "Mid-Atlantic Easy Chairs, 1770-1820: Old Questions and New Evidence," and Anderson and Trent, "A Catalogue of American Easy Chairs," American Furniture (1993), p.201-211 and 213-217).
A similar chair in the collection of Bayou Bend is illustrated in Warren, Bayou Bend: American Furniture, Paintings and Silver from the Bayou Bend Collection (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1975), p.52, fig.93. Another chair with a similar lower arm cones and volute-carved returns is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Heckscher, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Late Colonial Period: The Queen Anne and Chippendale Styles (New York, 1985), p.129, fig.77).