Two Rare Colonial Jamaican Windsor Comb-back Armchairs.
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Two Rare Colonial Jamaican Windsor Comb-back Armchairs. (c. 1770 Colonial Jamaica probably Montego Bay.)

These comb-back Windsor armchairs are currently the only recorded examples of their form known to have been made in colonial Jamaica. They are not only superb examples of eighteenth century chair-making technology, but, more importantly, provide solid evidence of the cultural and economic ties between Britain, her former North American colonies, and the Caribbean Islands.

The chairs have several features that warrant particular note. Both are made exclusively of mahogany, a wood that rarely appears in North American Windsor chairs, but is native to the Caribbean Islands. Equally important, the Jamaican artisan who constructed the chairs looked principally to America for stylistic inspiration. As this essay will demonstrate, Windsor chairs exported from Philadelphia to Jamaica in the eighteenth century had a significant impact on these island-made examples. Windsor chairs exported from Britain to Jamaica also impacted the designs, although to a lesser degree.

Medium Mahogany throughout.
Condition Chair one ~ The chair survives in overall fine condition with a fine early finish, superb oxidation of the secondary surfaces, and expected wear, most evident on the medial stretcher.
Chair two ~ The chair survives in overall fine structural condition, with minor expected signs of wear consistent with age and use. The chair long ago lost its original surface finish; the present surface was added in 2012 to approximate that of the accompanying chair.
Literature A full research essay on these chairs is avaiable upon request.