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The 18th Century ‘Flat Arm’ Ladderback Chairs

of Ulster County NY

For several years as a collector and dealer, as well as chairman of the collections committee at Huguenot Historical Society, I have become aware of many eighteenth century chairs that seem unique to the region.
            The first I acquired, about twenty years ago, came to me with a Hurley New York history. It is a three slat ladder back having “mushroom” ended arm posts and carved flat arms mortised into the posts. This particular chair, in red paint, has simply delineated feet and a splint seat. There are no turnings in the side rails or stretchers and presents boldly turned finials.           
            Other examples of these chairs have turned front stretchers, some have boldly turned William and Mary influenced front and back posts, all have large proportions, deep seats, three or four shaped ladderbacks, and could easily be characterized as “Great Chairs.”
            The chairs I have located are accompanied with provenances from the Ulster County towns of Hurley, Stone Ridge, Esopus, and New Paltz.
            For eventual presentation at the Huguenot Historical Society and to further our knowledge of mid eighteenth century furnishings from the Hudson Valley, I am seeking additional examples of similar chairs with Ulster County provenance. Please contact: Sanford Levy, or

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