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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Chippendale Chair constructon


Chippendale chair frame
Chippendale chair fram  

Top rail
Top rail  
A few questions about 18th Cent.Chippendale chair construction for you: (1) Have you seen frame construction where it appears there were never any glue blocks?  No evidence of nail or screw holes; no discoloration where blocks may have been; no old glue remnants - and yet no evidence of modern construction? (2) Have you seen any example of the cupid's bow top rail NOT forming a smooth continuous line with the stiles? In fact overhanging each stile by a quarter inch? (3) Have you seen chair arms with wide fanned-out hand rests?  I look forward to your answers. Pete

Pete - The crest rail overhanging the stiles is a quite common arrangement. More than a dozen are illustrated in "Field Guide to American Antique Furniture" by Butler. This is especially true in Philadelphia style chair with the central cartouche in the crest rail.

The widely flared arm is not so common but not unheard of.

The other clues you mention may be suspect because the chair has obviously been refinished (drip marks inside the seat rail). The is a slot head screw holding the arm to the seat rail. Has this been removed and examined to verify 18th century provenance? Have you closely examined the shoe? The shoe is the wide base of the splat where it meets the back rail. An 18th century shoe was a separate piece nailed to the back rail. 19th and 20th century shoes were one piece, molded into the back rail.

I will closely examine the rest of the photos you sent and will get back to you in a couple of days. Interesting problem. Thanks for writing.

Fred Taylor  

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Fred Taylor


I will attempt to answer questions about American antique furniture, including construction details, style, period, manufacturers, care, repair and storage. I do not have any background in appliances, musical instruments, sewing machines, trunks, lighting, clocks or children's and baby furniture and will not respond to questions about those items.


I ran an antique furniture restoration business for twenty years. I am a nationally syndicated columnist on the subject of antique furniture for such publications as Antique Week and New England Antiques Journal. I have produced one video on the subject of furniture identification and my book "HOW TO BE A FURNITURE DETECTIVE" is now available.I have also published articles in Antique Trader, Chicago Art Deco Society, Northeast Magazine, Victorian Decorating and Lifestyles, Professional Refinishing, Antiques and Art Around Florida and Antique Shoppe. You can visit my website at

BSBA Finance, University of Florida, MBA Finance, University of Florida

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