JEFFREY GREENE · NEWPORT · handcrafted Newport furniture

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Chairs and Seating

Goddard Corner Chair    
with ball and claw feet
mahogany, 30 1/2"h    

If a single piece were to be chosen as an icon for the artistry and craftsmanship of the Newport cabinetmakers, it would be difficult to suggest one better than a John Goddard corner chair.  It is a symphony of curves and a testament to the sculptural abilities of John Goddard and his sons. This chair has cabriole legs and stiles, and both the seat rails and splats are serpentine. Four open-talon Goddard ball and claw feet anchor it firmly to the ground. The slip seat is upholstered in premium top-grain leather. 

This chair is an exacting replica of the original, and having made more than the Goddards did in their day, Jeffrey is an authority on them. The result is a Goddard corner chair of absolute authenticity and unrivaled craftsmanship.

similar example: Sack p.67

Goddard Side Chair
with balloon seat
mahogany, 39"h

The Sotheby's sale of January 2005 included a number of pieces made by the John Goddard workshop for Nicholas Brown, including four of these highly detailed balloon-seat chairs. These chairs have the signature Goddard ball and claw feet and flat, rather than turned stretchers. The curved shape of the seat flows smoothly into the front of the legs. The back features carved stiles in a cabriole shape that end in turned disks. The crest has a pierced Newport curved-ray shell over the pierced splat. Such a chair represents the most formal Newport chair as made by the leading craftsmen of the day, with all the design elements flowing together harmoniously. 

Jeffrey Greene's example is fully handmade throughout, from the joinery to the highly detailed carving. It is shown upholstered in fabric, but may also be made with a leather slip seat.

similar example: Sotheby's 8055, January 2005

Goddard Side Chair
with rectangular seat
mahogany, 39"h

Another version of the Goddard side chair is that with a rectangular seat and front legs that are accordingly square in section. This chair has notable Goddard ball and claw feet with carved knees and turned stretchers. The back has cabriole-shaped stiles and a bold Newport curved-ray shell on the crest rail.

Like all chairs, this example is of handmade pegged mortise-and-tenon construction throughout for many centuries of service. It is shown upholstered in fabric but is equally correct in leather.

similar example: Moses plate 21

Newport Queen Anne Side Chair
mahogany, 41"h  +

A Newport Queen Anne chair as made by John Proud and sons, Newport's prolific but little-known family of chair makers. They carried on their trade until the father's death and the upheaval brought by the revolution. It is likely that because of the Prouds' output, there were relatively few similar chairs made by the Goddards and Townsends. The Goddards also appear to have sold chairs by the Prouds, since one Goddard bill of sale lists 6 black birch chairs. Several Proud originals have been found that are made of birch and were painted black.

The Newport Queen Anne side chair is beautifully proportioned with a narrow splat, delicate turnings, and slender seat rails. The back stiles and splat have sweeping curves, and the slim cabriole legs in in crisp pad feet. The slip seat is shown upholstered in fabric, but may also be finished in leather. This chair is in mahogany, but it can also be made in maple or walnut, as were the originals. 

similar example: Greene p. 244

Newport Queen Anne Chair with Shell
mahogany, 42"h 

The Newport Queen Anne chair with shell is a variation of the previous Queen Anne chair, and includes a balloon seat and a Newport crest shell. The Proud family, who made many chairs for the local Newport market, offered such variations to suit the wishes of their customers. The balloon seat uses curved seat rails on the front and sides to create a continuously curved seat and that curve extends over the knees of the front legs. The crest rail, rather than having the traditional scooped saddle in the center, adds a Newport curved-ray shell. The splat also shows a variation with the Newport "bird" profiles visible in the voids.

Like all chairs, the construction is of pegged mortise-and-tenon joints throughout. This formal version of a Newport Queen Anne chair is shown in mahogany, the most suitable choice for a chair of this type. The slip seat may also be upholstered in leather.

Townsend Corner Chair
with ball and claw feet
mahogany, 30 1/2"h

The Townsend corner chair is chair in the Newport style using documented design elements of John Townsend pieces and giving the composition the tighter, more vertical appearance that marks his work. Each element is taken from documented Townsend pieces, from the splat design to the tall, stylized ball and claw feet. Otherwise, this chair shares the same geometry and construction as other Newport corner chairs.

This example is shown upholstered in fabric, but it is also available upholstered in top-grain leather.

John Townsend Easy Chair
mahogany, poplar & maple frame, 42"h

A Newport easy chair after the original by John Townsend. The chair has his signature ball and claw feet, with sharp knuckles and prominent talons. The base has turned side, medial, and rear stretchers. The frame is handsomely proportioned with vertical arm rolls and an arched crest.

The construction is by mortise and tenon throughout, and includes upholsterer's rails. The bare frame is shown in the thumbnail image below.

similar example: Moses p. 190

Newport Camel-Back Sofa
mahogany with poplar and maple frame, 86"l

The Newport camel-back sofa stands on a rectilinear base with four stop-fluted front legs. Straight stretchers tie the front legs to the rear and medial stretcher rear stretches tie all the legs together. The frame has a serpentine front rail that echoes the serpentine camel back crest. The arm rolls are splayed outward, lending a more open and relaxed look to the piece.

The construction is by mortise and tenon throughout, and includes the rails need by the upholsterer. The bare sofa frame is shown in the thumbnail image below.

similar example: Moses p. 53