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Chair

1808
John Aitken, American (born Scotland), c. 1760/65 - 1839. Designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, American (born England), 1764 - 1820. Decorated by George Bridport, American (born England), 1783 - 1819

In 1808, British-born architect B. Henry Latrobe designed this chair as part of a set of furniture for the house of William and Mary Waln, constructed on the southeast corner of Chestnut and Seventh Streets.

With its sleek Grecian (or klismos) profile, painted and gilded decoration, and silk upholstery and trimmings, the furniture expressed the taste and wealth of its owners. William—with the brothers of his wife Mary—traded in China trade, and it was Mary’s inheritance and design acumen that rendered their house the finest in the city in the 1810s.

Latrobe commissioned British-born artist George Bridport to paint the walls and furniture with elements drawn directly from Greek and Roman art and architecture. The inward sweep of the legs challenged the cabinetmaker John Aitken, who made the furniture in his shop around the corner from the Walns’ house. John Rea upholstered it.

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Object Details

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