Property from a Private Northern California Collection
A set of six Queen Anne walnut compass seat side chairs Attributed to Thomas Davenport, Newport, Rhode Island circa 1737-1745
height of crest 38in (96.5cm); height of seats 17in (43.2cm); width of seat 20 3/4in (52.5cm); depth of seat 16 3/4in (42.5cm)
The Rhode Island Furniture Archive at Yale University Art Gallery identifies several examples of this form of chair, all bearing a pierced splat with distinctive scrolled ears and all attributed to Thomas Davenport (1681-1745). In his article "Lesser-known Rhode Island cabinetmakers: the Carlisles, Holmes Weaver, Judson Blake, the Rawsons and Thomas Davenport," (The Magazine Antiques, May 1982, pp. 1156-1163), Joseph Ott suggests that the delicate scrolled ears may be a trademark of Davenport. A related set of six side chairs, previously mis-attributed to John Townsend, was advertised by Florene Maine and illustrated in The Magazine Antiques (February, 1978).
According to family history, this set of chairs was previously owed by John Southmayd (1825-1907) and Ellen W. Dayton (1839-1901); they apparently acquired the chairs from a Gracie family of New York. Upon John's death in 1907, the chairs were distributed among their five children, with a sixth chair going to two maiden Gracie sisters. The chairs were ultimately reunited in 1985 by Theodora "Edola" Muldaur Baker, one of the granddaughters of John and Ellen Southmayd.
Provenance: Acquired by John and Ellen Southmayd circa 1875, by family tradition, thence to their children. Ella Southmayd (b. 1865), Elizabeth Dayton Southmayd (b. 1866), Caroline Southmayd (b. 1868), Clara Southmayd (b. 1871), Henry Southmayd (b. 1876) and two maiden Gracie sisters (unrelated), thence variously. Theodora "Edola" Muldaur Baker (1897-1988), thence by descent to current owner
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