Klismos chair........Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Klismos chair
On display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2004

Made in Baltimore, c 1815-20
Maple, with painted decoration

One of a set of nine, this late Federal side chair has the curved back of the Grecian klismos but the turned front leg of the Roman version rather than the Grecian saber leg.

During the Madison administration, the architect Benjamin Latrobe designed a suite of Greek style furniture for the White House. Drawings for chairs for that suite executed in the shop of the Baltimore cabinetmakers John and Hugh Finlay, and destroyed in a fire in the War of 1812, suggest that this chair may be also from the Finlay shop.

Oftentimes, the style of the American klismos chair is termed Empire as opposed to Federal.

Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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