18th Century New Mexican Armchair

A Rare Pine Armchair, New Mexico, 18th Century, the horizontal reeded crest above three shaped backrests with a molded stayrail and plank seat below, flanked by shaped arms with rounded terminals, on square legs centering a similarly reeded rail and shaped supports, joined by a molded stretcher. Retains an old dry natural surface. Right arm replaced; patch to terminal of left arm; chips and losses to right front leg. Height of seat 18 in. (45.7 cm.); height of crest 33 in. (83.8 cm.)

Alfredo’s Bar, Santa Fe
Julian Garcia Collection, Albuquerque
Wilbert Miera Collection, Santa Fe

For related examples of early arm chairs cf. Vedder, 1997 p.76 for two “Priest’s Chairs”; Taylor, 1987, pp.92-93, pls. 104 and 105; also see Boyd, p. 252, fig. 149, “Armchairs such as this one derive from the silla francesa or French chair that was popular in Mexico in the 18th century. Although they have been called ‘Priests’ chairs’ by collectors they were used in private homes as well as churches to denote the status of the sitter, whether priest or head of household.” Very few similar 18th century examples exist today.

From the Sotheby’s auction catalog, New York, January 15, 1998 American Furniture and Decorative Arts from Spain’s Northern Colonial Frontier


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