48 1/2 in. x 25 1/2 in. x 17 7/8 in. (123.19 cm. x 64.77 cm. x 45.4 cm.)
North America, United States
Medium and Support
Gift of Ephraim Wilder Farley, Class of 1836
An accomplished joiner born and educated in Devonshire, England, William Searle emigrated to America in 1663. He is believed to have produced this carved chair for his home in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The handsomely carved ornament, with anthropomorphic figures decorating the stiles, is based on the geometric Mannerist strapwork, promoted in Northern Europe through prints and pattern books. Seen on English furniture from the region in which Searle trained, the designs were carried on by at least two generations of joiners in New England. The use of carving increased a chair’s cost, but furniture of local oak furnished many households of Anglo settlers in Massachusetts. Originally given to Bowdoin College for use of the president at Commencement, the chair is now recognized as among the nation’s finest examples of seventeenth-century furniture. It provides a marked contrast to the Dutch side chair, made of lathe-turned parts, on view nearby.
Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to
provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.