PRESENTING a LOVELY 18C Philadelphia Irish Chippendale Style Tall Wingback Armchair.
Irish or Philadelphian piece made in the late 18th Century circa 1780.
Made in the style of Irish Georgian Chippendale pieces from the mid to late 18th Century.
It features 2 front legs with the signature ‘Irish Georgian scallop shell’ motif on the knee with a beautifully carved ball and claw foot.
The 2 rear legs are solid and curved backwards for extra support and stability.
The piece is wingback in style but is what we refer to as a ‘Tall” wingback due to it’s size and height.
The upholstery is probably not the original upholstery and is more recent in date.
The base has a label attached which looks like it is very early 20th Century and it is obvious that the chair was re-upholstered around that time. The work appears to have been done by “Walter J. Johnson & Co of 1732 Pine Street, Phila 3, PA” and was reupholstered for a “C.H. Bell” and the upholsterer was proud to announce that “This is a RENOVATED article and contains the same material received from the Owner to which has been added: Webbing & Cotton Felt”.
All of this leads us to the conclusion and opinion that this is in fact an original period chair and it was ‘renovated’ in the early 20th Century.
The quality of the carving and the ball and claw feet which look like classic ‘Philadelphia Ball ‘n Claw’ leads us to the opinion and belief, that this piece could and probably was made by an Irish furniture maker in Philadelphia circa 1780.
People of Irish descent form the largest ethnic group in the city of Philadelphia and its surrounding counties. The Irish have lived in Philadelphia since the pre-American Revolution period. Irishmen had participated in pro-Revolutionary activities in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. Like many American cities in the 19th century, Philadelphia, which was once a Quaker stronghold, changed dramatically with the influx of European immigrants. The first major influx of Irish came in 1844 from rural areas, spurred by the Irish Famine. Because of the Quakers belief and pledge of religious tolerance, Irish Catholics and Protestants, among others, made the city incredibly diverse. Philadelphia at the time had a need for industrial labor, and at the time Philadelphia was becoming a major industrial center in the United States. Irish took industrial positions. In the 1840s and 1850s, anti-Catholic sentiment grew against the Irish, and eventually led up to riots, such as the Philadelphia nativist riots and the Lombard Street riot. Eventually the Irish gained financial and social status in the latter half of the 19th Century and founded institutions during the period.
Philadelphia’s Irish population have left their mark in a number of ways. Traditionally, the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia Fire Department have always had a large Irish American influence. Many neighborhoods, such as Kensington and Fishtown of Northeast Philadelphia, and Two Street of South Philadelphia are still heavily Irish. The most prominent Irish Philadelphian of all, Grace Kelly, would turn in an acting career to become Princess of Monaco. Prominent local politicians past and present, such as James Logan, would have an impact as well. The Irish were also responsible for establishing many Catholic institutions, such as St. Joseph’s University, La Salle University, and perhaps most known of all, Villanova University.
18C Philadelphia Irish Chippendale Style Tall Wingback Armchair.
Provenance: From an Outstanding Dallas Collection.
Condition: Very good original condition. Some minor scuffs to the upholstery and minor wear and tear to the legs through age and use.
Dimensions: 49.25″ Tall, 32″ Wide and 26.25″ Deep
Seat Height is 19″, Inside Seat measurements are 18.75″ Wide and 18.75″ Deep. The inside measurement of the wings is 22.5″ Wide.