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Side chair with leather upholstery
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This chair form was fashionable in the late 17th century. It required the skills of three craftsmen - the turner with a lathe, the joiner who mortised and tenoned the rails and stiles, and the upholsterer who stuffed the seat and the upper back with marsh grass and covered it with leather. The leather upholstery is the feature that gives the chair distinction. The preferred leather was "russia" leather tanned near St. Petersburg and exported to the colonies by London merchants. The chair was probably made in New York City and was owned by John Amsden (1686-1742) who lived in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Seating furniture was rare in the early years of settlement and a chair like this reflected the social and economic status of the owner.
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