Origin: New Mexico Spanish Colonial
Date: 18th to 19th century or earlier
Dimensions: 39″ tall, 22″ x 17″, seat at 17.25″ high
Description: This is a wonderful and early New Mexican ecclesiastical chair. These are sometimes called Bishop chairs, as the arm rests and the wider width as well as the backing all suggest a chair for an important person. Chairs meant for the home would rarely have arm supports nor would they be so wide. The joinery work is all mortise and tenon. It appears that early on one of the arms was replaced. The original arm has a hand grip at its end (see detailed photo) whereas the other one is missing this feature. A few stretchers below the seat are missing, with some showing only a small portion sticking out of the framing. The wood back is indicative of chairs from Spain, except in place of the wood would be tooled leather. The seat of wood here would also be tooled leather. This is a very rare, early and rustic rendition for the Southwest of an important chair that, if created in more settled areas, would be much more refined. Its lack of refinement is what makes it so simply beautiful.
Condition: This old chair has seen many fixes over time. One of the legs has been spliced, another reinforced with glue. These aspects are all indicative of how this chair wanted to be kept and did not want to be thrown out for scrap wood. Its’ a real testament to time and care. The chair is sturdy but some of the joints are a bit loose and one needs to take care when sitting in it.