Noonmark Antiques

Of the Best Materials and Good Workmanship: 19th Century New Jersey Chairmaking

Charles Hammell1 Comment

If you are like me and early chairs make your heart sing and if they are specifically early chairs made in New Jersey, then, I think you will enjoy this small exhibition at Morven in Princeton. From April 23-October 18, 2015 a choice selection of 19th century chairs are on display on the second floor at beautiful Morven. Again, I was delighted to take a self guided tour through the exhibit-simply a rare treat to leisurely stroll through, double back, memorize, and take photos of the workmanship on display. I am filled with gratitude toward the sponsors and contributors to this exhibit. It is scholarly yet inviting. For me, the exhibit reinforced my research of Ware chairs ( see my blog entry January 1, 2014 ) and Moorestown chairmaker, William McElroy.

To me, it is very special to learn of earliest chairmakers in my adopted state of New Jersey. I like to ponder the past and wonder who lived here and what they did for a living. Here, you can actually see remnants of the past and know for certain who made them because, at least for the Windsor chairs, they are stamped on the bottom.


The turned components of Windsor chairs are to me a sculptural delight,

and I have a special fondness for the volutes or "ears."


Rush bottom chairs are included in this exhibit and the mighty Ware family, whose contributions to chairmaking spanned 150 years in this country are well represented.

A Ware family chair ( see below) is available for sale on this website, If you are interested, please feel free to contact us for more information.

Tickets are $6.00 for this exhibit. Students could gain a lot from the chairmaking techniques explained here and anyone interested in early New Jersey history would find this display enlightening and fascinating.