The Colonial Foundation of Williamsburg has purchased two 18th Century English side chairs that once stood in the governor’s chamber of the historic Capitol building, and were used in the lead up to the American Revolution.
Antique dining chairs – or side chairs – are sometimes referred to as back stools, a term which came into vogue in the 17th Century and was still being used a century later to describe richly made chairs with tall, upholstered backs. Around 1750, 12 of these chairs were shipped from England to Williamsburg, colonial capital of Virginia. Richly carved from mahogany, cherry, oak and other fine woods, they were destined for use by the most elite members of Virginian society – the councillors who met in the Governor’s Chamber to discuss matters which would ultimately lead to the American Revolution.
Now, two of those chairs have returned to join the matching Royal Governor’s Chair, which became part of the Colonial Williamsburg collection in 1930 and closely matches the Speaker’s Chair in the House of Commons. One has already been restored and is on display at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Evidence suggests all three chairs were originally upholstered in expensive red silk and embellished with polished brass tacks, facts which have been carefully copied in the Restoration.
Colonial Williamsburg is a museum with over 60,000 antiques and authentically restored period buildings. Visitors from Lancashire will find antique mahogany pedestal desks and Victorian dining chairs identical to those seen in antique dealers of towns like Preston, making it the perfect “home from home” holiday destination.
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