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On view


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: 44 1/4 x 25 x 28 3/4in. (112.4 x 63.5 x 73cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 59.119
Label Text
John Henry Belter, the maker of this armchair and its matching sofa and side chair MWPAI 50.116, 59.121), 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 frame for the chair back 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. Extra pieces of wood were applied at the crest to allow for deep carving.