The Justice Samuel Chase pair of fine Chippendale carved mahogany tassel-back side chairs
philadelphia, pa, circa 1760
The chairs marked, "II" and "V," respectively.
H: 41 in.
Property Deaccessioned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
This pair of chairs was formally presented to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association in 1894 by actress and philanthropist, Jean Margaret Davenport Lander (1829-1903).
Lander purchased them from Justice Samuel Chase's granddaughter, Mrs. William H. Rogers (1813-1887) of Washington, D.C., who had acquired them from her mother and Chase's daughter, Mary Chase Barney (1785-1872). Barney had passed away at Rogers's home in 1872.
By tradition, the pair was originally owned by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase (1741-1811) and his wife Ann Baldwin Chase (d. 1776) of Annapolis, Maryland.
A lawyer and politician, Chase had a long and tumultuous career in Maryland and in national affairs. He served as a Representative from Maryland to the First and Second Continental Congresses and was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by George Washington in 1796. In 1820, John Quincy Adams, recorded the following in his diary, "I considered Mr. Chase as one of the men whose life, conduct, and opinions had been one of the most extensive influences upon the Constitution of this country. He not only signed the Declaration of Independence, but was an active and distinguished member of Congress during an early and most critical period of the Revolution. He was a man of ardent passions, of strong mind, of domineering temper..."
According to furniture scholar Morrison Heckscher, chairs of this type "represent the Philadelphia scrolled-strapwork-splat type at its refined best." With their ball-and-claw feet, stop-fluted stiles, carved knees, gadrooned shoe, and exceptionally well-carved crestrail, these chairs exhibit almost every additional option available in 18th century Philadelphia. Their presence in Maryland reflects not only the importance of Philadelphia as a major style center, but also the urbane ambitions of a young jurist defining his social position in the American colonies.
Additional chairs from the same set can be currently found in the collection of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the Department of State and at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The chair in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts shares a related provenance with the present pair from Mount Vernon: A family tradition of having been originally owned by Samuel Chase and his wife Ann Baldwin Chase. The chair thence descended in the Chase family to Mrs. Arthur Addison (Caroline Harrington Steele Addison, 1859-1935) of Washington, D.C., a great granddaughter of Samuel Chase and daughter of Franklin B. Steele and Annie Eliza Barney (1825-1881). Thence to Mrs. Addison's niece, Mrs. Henry Wise Garnett (Maude Vincent), daughter of Addison's sister, Rosa P. Steele and Charles Vincent. It was then purchased in 1939 from Mrs. Garnett for The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth Century American Arts.
Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Interested bidders are strongly encouraged to request a condition report on any lots upon which they intend to bid, prior to placing a bid. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.
Sold for $125,000 (buyer's premium included)