19th Anniversary

19th Anniversary 132 www.afamag.com |  www.incollect.com “Fancy” side chair attributed to John Finlay (1777–1851) and Hugh Finlay (1781–1831), (active about 1800/01–1830), Baltimore, about 1830. Poplar, painted and gilded (secondary woods: pine and poplar), with die-stamped gilt-brass rosettes, caning, and original red moreen fabric (beneath replacement fabric on rondel). H. 33¾, W. 18⅝, O. D. 23¾ in. Although painted furniture of ultimate sophistication was made in virtually all of the major cabinetmaking centers in Federal America, no city produced more or better work in this genre than Baltimore. Much painted furniture produced there has been ascribed to the firm of John and Hugh Finlay, who early in their career received a commission for a set of thirty-six painted chairs, four settees, and two sofas for the Oval Room of the White House, Washington, D.C., all of which were destroyed in the burning of that building in 1814. Among their most dramatic work is a set of chairs, likely numbering at least twenty-four — based upon the incised number of “XXII” on the seat of this chair. Of an unusual design, termed a “wheel back” in Baltimore vernacular, the chair appears to have been based on an ancient Roman folding chair, which had a hinge at the circular area at the back to facilitate the folding of the chair for easy transportation. The survival of original red moreen fabric on the rondel in the center of the backsplat (now reversibly covered with a piece of modern red moreen) served as the inspiration for the red squab that covers the caned seat.