Side chairs, pair

Phyfe, Duncan, 1768-1854 (attributed)
New York, New York state, United States
ca. 1810–1815
Sack catalogue description: Set of four Classical close-grained mahogany side chairs with magnificently carved eagle splats, paneled crests with finely figured crotch veneer, reeded stiles; outsplayed acanthus-carved legs, bronze patina, attributed to Duncan Phyfe. The line of descent of these chairs is as follows: 1) Moses Field (1779–1833) married 1821 to Susan Kittredge, daughter of Samuel Osgood (Susan Kittredge was a half-sister of Maria Franklin, the wife of DeWitt Clinton; assuming family tradition is correct, the set was given by Maria Franklin Clinton to her half-sister, Susan Kittredge); 2) Moses Augustus Field, born 1831, married 1854 Frances Pearsall Bradhurst; 3) Mary Field, wife of Henry Wilmerding Payne and sister of Augustus Bradhurst Field. Augustus Field was born February 6, 1866; he inherited these four eagle-back chairs from his sister upon her death in 1942, and in turn gave them to his son Malcolm Graham Field in 1942. They were consigned to Christie's Auction Room by Mrs. Malcolm Graham Field and purchased by us. One chair of this set is illustrated in McClelland, Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency, pl. 354, and described as follows: "Governor Clinton's chair – This stunning eagle back chair is on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. It is one of a set made for Governor Clinton. Courtesy of Mrs. Henry Wilmerding Payne." In the text, p. 270, McClelland also notes: "A fine set of chairs with carved eagles in the back was made by Phyfe for this distinguished citizen. Two of the set are (1939) on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum (pl. 254). They are owned and loaned by Mrs. Henry Wilmerding Payne into whose family Clinton married." Two of this set were loaned by Mrs. Henry Wilmerding Payne to the Metropolitan Museum in 1939, where they remained until after her death in 1942. These four chairs are also virtually identical to a set of eight eagle-back chairs in the Museum of the City of New York, given by Mrs. Henry O. Tallmadge; in fact, they are identical except that the Tallmadge chairs are one inch lower. Also interesting is the fact that the chair numbers on this set complement the missing numbers from one to twelve on the Tallmadge set; two of the Tallmadge set were shown in the exhibit, "Furniture by New York Cabinetmakers," at the Museum of the City of New York in 1957, pl. 112, and were described as follows: "Two side chairs from set, mahogany, about 1818, made by Duncan Phyfe. Back splat a carved spread eagle. Belonged to George Clinton, direct ancestor of the leader. Similar set made for Governor DeWitt Clinton, illus. McClelland 'Duncan Phyfe' p. 267."
Related objects: Book: Nancy A. McClelland, Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency, 1795–1830 (New York: William Scott, 1939), pl. 354. Exhibition catalogue: V. Isabelle Miller, Furniture by New York Cabinetmakers, 1650 to 1860 (New York: Museum of the City of New York, 1956), pl. 112.
Bibliography: Book: American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1990), vol. 6, pp. 1642–1643, pl. 4781.
Variant Titles:
Set of four Classical mahogany side chairs
Decoration and ornament -- Neoclassical style
Furniture -- United States
Accession Number:
side chairs (AAT)
Physical Object
Content Type:
Furnishings & Decorative Arts
Prints & Photographs
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Access Restrictions:
Source Title:
Israel Sack, Inc., Archive
Source Created:
New York, New York, United States
Source Note:
Sack, May 1979
This information is taken from the Israel Sack Furniture Archive and may not reflect current scholarship.
Folder 10319 cab2dr2 tiff_complete
Yale Collection:
Yale University Art Gallery
Digital Collection:
Israel Sack Furniture Archive
oid pointer:

Number of Pages: 2
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