Philadelphia Classical Chair Link

Philadelphia Empire Chair MET WPL

Philadelphia Classical Chair

Photo Metropolitan Museum Metmuseum.org

This chair model is probably one of the most familiar pieces of American painted furniture; originally from a set of 16, it is featured in many books, and a few from the set are on display in prominent museums. When I first saw it, I was captivated, and wanted to create one for myself.* After producing a pair, a client saw them and commissioned a set of 12 for her dining room. The photo below shows the completed set, together with the first pair:

14 Philadelphia Classical Chairs WPL

At the same time as the 12 frames were built for the custom order, I also had another pair built for myself. The beautiful simplicity of the form seemed to allow for a variety of Classical treatments. I had a few ideas in mind, the results can be seen in the following photo:

3 Philadelphia Classical Chairs WPL

* Note: The original chairs have a band of carved and gilded leaf ornament under the seat rail. I omitted this element from my own chairs, simply for personal preference.