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Pair of 'American Fancy' Painted Chairs c. 1800 - 1820 with Acorn Decoration - American Fancy - Americana - Rush Seats
This fine pair of American Fancy chairs is in absolutely untouched condition, which is rare. Often they were repainted, stripped, or the seat was replaced, breaking the thin piece of wood around the edge in the process... here it is still held on with the original square nails.
These chairs have tapering front legs with small ball feet, and ring turnings. The rear legs. a continuation of the uprights, are turned, simply shaped, and canted backwards. The legs are braced by a box stretcher with the front member being turned with a diamond shaped, flat central decoration. The uprights of the back have a slight backward curve, and support a wide, concave back rail. The back contains two plain back splats. Both chairs retain their original shield shaped rush seat.
The original yellow paint was applied over gesso, the whole striped with a deep red and gilt. Additionally, there are charming gilded oak leaves and acorns painted on the rail, accented with black and deep red.
These chairs are made from hand planed planks. You can see this most dramatically on the top rail when the light rakes across it and accents the texture of the wood.
Condition is remarkable in that they are completely original. There is appropriate wear to the paint, and a spot on one seat where the rush is worn through. There are some stray pieces of rush that hang down from the bottom of the seat, which I simply tuck back up. None of this compromises their solid structure; it is all really very minor, and should be left alone to preserve their value as American antiques. Please look at the pictures. Each chair measures 19 1/4" at the widest point of the seat, 33 1/4" to the top of the thumbs, 32 1/4" to the top of the splat, and 17 3/4" to the top of the seat.
This is a rare and wonderful pair of chairs. They are fine American antiques, and in a good home, should last another 200 years.
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