Fine Original Comb-Back Windsor Rocking Chair w/ Carved Knuckle Arms
Pennsylvania, probably Chester County or Philadelphia c. 1770-1790
Item # 120009UYP08
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This is a rare form of Windsor, featuring what we believe to be fully original rocking slats on a comb-back carved knuckle arm chair. These are difficult to find and regularly had the rocking slats removed and the legs shortened to hide the original rocking slats. With a wonderful and very early black painted surface, the patina throughout this chair is quite well developed and certainly to be cherished.
The crest is curved from oak, the inverted oxbow design giving it a soft flow as it culminates in the carved ears on either side. These are not simply a part of the crest, but rather spring up as a logical extension from the splayed spindles that curve outward to join the crest. The hickory spindles, nine making up the full curved back, taper from the seat to the crest, still maintaining excellent form after nearly 250 years with no damage whatsoever.
Joining the spindles, a solid steam bent piece of oak wraps around the entire midsection, creating the arm rail as it is intensely carved at the end to result in magnificent knuckle hand holds. Raising these on either side, the turned maple arm supports lock this rail firmly in place, joining through the seat with a through-wedge-tenon from beneath the seat.
The seat is ovular in form, scooped deeply from a single plank of incredibly thick pine forming a comfortably shaped seating surface, the back and underside sharply chamfered and hand planed - the underside of the seat appears to have an old chalk inscription, illegible and rather hard to see at this point. The legs are turned in the New England manner, stretched with an H-form stretcher turned to form a central bobbin, the medial stretcher flanked by rings on either side of the bobbin.
As the feet start to taper, they transition sharply into the curved slats of the rocker. We've looked at these carefully, as it is very difficult to find chairs with original rocker slats and it is an important distinction to make for any serious collector. A few things we have considered: first, the splay of the legs is very healthy, measuring approximately 22" with a seat width of 21 3/4". A chair without the rockers would require an additional 2 1/2"-3" of leg, which would make the splay quite strange when compared against the width of the seat. Further, the legs do not taper as much as your typical Pennsylvania leg, which makes sense as an original rocker would be designed to have a slightly thicker leg to withstand the pressure of the rocker. The screws going through each leg are original hand forged screws except for one, which appears to be an early 19th century screw. These lead us to believe the rocker slats are an original part of the design, but we do ask that you review the photos carefully to identify this for yourself.
This is a simply outstanding find for any serious collector of Pennsylvania furniture or of Windsor chairs. With a wonderful painted finish, a flawlessly executed design and in excellent condition, this is a chair you will treasure in your home for a lifetime.
Measurements: 43" high x 25 1/4" wide x 25 1/2" deep
Maple: Turned Legs, Stretchers, Arm Supports
Oak: Knuckles, Crest Rail, Arm Rail
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