Skip Navigation


Decorative Arts and Design

The Shakers were a religious community that emigrated from England in the eighteenth century and were guided by the principles of honesty, simplicity, and practicality—qualities reflected in their furniture designs. Their works typically lack ornamentation, which was thought to be boastful and fetishize worldly goods. Instead, Shaker designs display an appreciation of raw materials and good craftsmanship.

This type of ladder-back chair was a core business for the Shakers. The rear feet are fitted with tilters, a Shaker invention that allowed the sitter to tip the chair backward without damaging the feet.
DATES 1830–1870
DIMENSIONS 36 7/8 × 18 × 19 in. (93.7 × 45.7 × 48.3 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Impressed on top of back slat: "3"
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Oscar Bernstien
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Slat-back with three slats joined to plain stiles. Woven split-wood seat, plain front legs joined across fron with two plain stretchers, two plain stretchers join front and rear legs on both sides. One plain stretcher joins rear legs. Rear legs are fitted at feet with tilters, a Shaker invention, which is a ball resting on a flat surface fitted into a socket and held in place with rawhide. Theis device allows the chair to be tipped backward by the sitter without damage to the rear legs or feet. CONDITION: Much wear, seat in very bad condition, back leg missing fitted tilter ball at foot.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Shaker Community. Chair, 1830–1870. Pine, 36 7/8 × 18 × 19 in. (93.7 × 45.7 × 48.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Oscar Bernstien, 77.84.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 77.84.2_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 77.84.2_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.