Skip Navigation

Wainscot Chair

Decorative Arts and Design

In seventeenth-century America, the armchair acted as a throne, supporting the status of the most important person in a gathering—the chairman. Most people sat on stools or benches. With this chair, comfort is not the purpose. The hard, straight back requires sitting up straight, the carved crest frames the head like a crown, and the placement of the hands on the armrests gives the sitter a pose of formal power.
CULTURE American
MEDIUM Painted oak
  • Possible Place Made: Massachusetts, United States
  • DATES second half 17th century
    DIMENSIONS 48 1/8 x 26 3/4 x 23 1/2 in. (122.2 x 67.9 x 59.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS unmarked
    CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Armchair with paneled back and set. Crest with scrolling pediment over stylized leaf and arch motif. Two rectangular panels with stylized floral motives framed with moldings. Molded set with turned front legs terminating in modified ball feet. Plain stretchers and plain rectangular straight back legs.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION American. Wainscot Chair, second half 17th century. Painted oak, 48 1/8 x 26 3/4 x 23 1/2 in. (122.2 x 67.9 x 59.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 51.158. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.51.158.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, CUR.51.158.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
    "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.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    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.