18th century; Possibly English
Thought to be English, but possibly French, this mahogany chair had been altered to create a closed armchair with a cushion. After removing the upholstery and studying the chair frame the full extent of the alteration was obvious. The rear edge of the arm supports and handholds were severely damaged by the addition of a nailing stile to secure the pre-treatment upholstery. The restoration consisted of mahogany and epoxy fills to correctly reform the original shaping of the arm supports and handholds. All finish work consisted of layering dry pigments and shellac to blend the restorations and the original show surfaces. A minimally intrusive upholstery was applied to the chair. The location of brass restoration nails were based on shank fragments in the chair frame. Textile and upholstery conservator, Cathy Coho, completed all of the upholstery work on this project. The show cover is a cotton wool damask from Context Weavers in England. The armchair was included in the international traveling exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, which toured to five cities in the United States and to Paris, France between December 2005 and March 2008. More information about the exhibition can be found on The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary website.