LILLIAN BARLOW (1876-1942), WILLIAM PERKINS (1861-1934), SARAH COLLINS (1855-1947)

Presentation Five Slat Armchair
Mount Lebanon, New York, circa 1920-1930
Maple, original woven cotton tape seat, overall height 51 ½ inches, seat height 18 ½ inches, seat width 23 ½ inches

The impressive five slat armchair is the most dramatic and sought after of all the so called “Barlow-Perkins” chairs. From their inception, the Shakers produced chairs exclusively for their own usage. At Mount Lebanon in the 1860s the Shakers began a successful business of chair production founded by Brother Robert Wagan. These chairs were sold nationally through printed catalogs and regional furniture companies, such as Marshall Field. They offered a line of chairs with interchangeable parts made in sizes for use by small children to adults. The design of the “production chairs” was a streamlined and modified version of their earlier community chairs. The last flowering of Shaker chair making at Mount Lebanon occurred during the first decades of the twentieth century, when it was reinvigorated by three remarkable individuals: Sister Lillian Barlow and Brother William Perkins who built the chairs, and Eldress Sarah Collins who wove the seats. They redesigned chairs for a new audience by producing them in a larger scale with bold and elongated applied finials.

Said to have been presented by the Mount Lebanon Shakers to Charles Dubois, Pittsfield, Massachusetts: Sold by us in 1989 and reacquired from that same private collection.

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