About this artwork
The reindeer hide that conservators used to reupholster this side chair in a period manner was salvaged from the Danish brigantine Frau Metta Catharina. Filled with hemp and leather from St. Petersburg, the ship sank off the coast of England in December 1786, and the cargo remained preserved in the mud of Plymouth Sound for nearly 200 years. Russian leather was readily available in the American colonies in the early 18th century and was favored for its flexible, rot- and insect-resistant surface. Here, stitches were threaded from the underside of the chair up through the leather. This technique, called double-stuff stitching, prevented the grass stuffing from shifting and formed a small well in the seat so that the cushions would stay in place. The felt tabs under the linen thread kept the stitching from tearing through the leather at its weakest points, the corners.
- Artist unknown
- Side Chair
- c. 1722–1744
- Maple and leather
- 106.8 × 48.2 × 36.8 cm (42 × 19 × 14 1/2 in.)
- Gift of the Antiquarian Society through Susan and Richard M. Bennett