The 1841 dated inscriptions on this chair's seat rails indicate that the chair was part of the furnishings of Governor Jonathan Trumbull's house in Lebanon, Connecticut. Still standing, the house was built circa 1735, the same year the future governor married Faith Robinson (1718-1780) and a likely time for the purchase of new furnishings such as the chair offered here. Several other pieces of furniture survive with strong histories in the Trumbull family (see Heckscher, American Furniture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1985), cat. 138, pp. 215-6; Stokes and Elder, American Furniture 1660-1880 (Baltimore, 1987), cat. 54, pp. 80-81; Myers and Mayhew, New London County Furniture 1640-1840 (New London, CT, 1974), cat. 60; Richards and Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur (Winterthur, DE, 1997), cats. 68, 127, pp. 123-4, 248-9).
Possibly from the same set, this chair and another appear to be identical (Sack, American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, vol. 9, p. 2500, P6184). Two similar chairs were sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., The Americana Collection of the Late Mrs. J. Amory Haskell, Part One, April 26-29, 1944, lot 537.
The same inscriptions show that a century after its production, the chair was owned in Norwich, Connecticut by a "Peter Lanman, Junr." Peter Lanman, Jr. (1807-1886) was a son of Peter Lanman, Sr. (1771-1854) and Abigail Trumbull (1781-1861) and a great-grandson of Governor Trumbull. A prominent merchant and political appointee, the elder Lanman lived primarily in Norwich, Connecticut. In 1828, his wife's uncle, the artist John Trumbull (1756-1843) painted their portraits, which are now in the collection of Yale University Art Gallery. The couple's second son, Peter Lanman, Jr. was a pioneer in the textile industry in New London county and worked in both Jewett City and Norwich. In 1831, he married Catherine Cook (1814-1854), daughter of Augustus and Sarah (Dutton) Cook, and in all likelihood, his wife was a relation of L.D. Cook, the recipient of the chair in 1841 (Stone, The Lanman Family (Lancaster, PA, 1968), pp. 26-33, 64-66, 116-117, 140-141).