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A Fine and Unique Set of Six Classical Mahogany Dining Chairs with Carved Bow Knot Crest Rail and Diminutive Paw Feet, Phyfe Circle, New York, c.1810. Provenance: J. Insley Blair

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This set of chairs relates to the early New York furniture grouping characterized as classical and which is often characterized by a carved panel depicting a central bow knot upon either a spray of wheat or fabric swags.  This was frequently used by Phyfe and his circle as a decorative motif on their sofas.  (See sw01588 and sw01643 for examples in our collection.)

The paw foot is also a characteristic classical Greek motif.   Here, they  are very delicately and fully developed, down to the paws and claws.  An interesting comparison can be made between this chair and a well-known Phyfe lyre side chair also in our inventory (see sw01619). 

The structural form of the chairs differ in that Phyfe's is more upright, as compared to our example which is more laid back.  This is the classic Greek klismos style, as seen in the pottery of ancient antiquity.  (Please click here for the full photo comparison.)   

Also of note is the development of the extra side rails, and their additional reeding on the top and sides (see detailed images).  If these rails were a few inches higher, these chairs would almost be arm chairs.

These chairs are beautifully built, and in perfect condition, and of a heavy, dense, mahogany.  They once were part of the belongings of the J. Insley Blair family of collecting pioneers, much of their collection are in private museums; they knew the best!

Height: 33 in.  Seat Height: 17 in.  Width: 19 1/2 in  Depth:19 1/2 in.
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