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Side Chair

On view

Side Chair

Attributed to: John H. Belter (1804-1863; active New York, New York, 1844-1863)

Date: 1850-1860
Medium: Mahogany, black ash, cherry, modern upholstery
Overall: 38 5/8 x 10 7/8 x 25
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 59.121
Label Text
John Henry Belter, the maker of this chair and the matching sofa and armchair (MWPAI 59.116 and 59.119), is synonymous with the Rococo Revival style in America. Belter not only fashioned dramatic and comfortable furniture of good quality, he continually sought ways to improve what he was making. Between 1847 and 1860 he obtained four patents from the United States Patent Office.

One patent was for a process that allowed Belter to fabricate curved components by pressing layers of laminated wood in cauls (molds). The frames of the backs of each piece in the MWPAI suite is made of seven laminated layers of wood with alternating grain. The top and bottom layers are mahogany; less expensive woods were most likely used in between. The back side of the side chair is a wood expanse, while the backs of the other pieces have wood frames with upholstery.