If you’ve ever looked in the Wallace House dining room, you’ve seen them: a pair of side chairs, sitting under the picture of Mary Maddox. They aren’t prominently displayed, because they were made after George Washington stayed at the Wallace House, in fact after the Revolutionary War was over – probably about 1790.
But they do have an interesting connection to Washington, nonetheless. The New York Historical Society owns a chair from Federal Hall, New York City, which was the chair George Washington sat in the day he was inaugurated as our first President. Follow this link to see it: NYHS Washington’s inaugural chair Vice President John Adams sat near him, in a similar chair.
If you look closely at the chairs from the Wallace House collection and George Washington’s inaugural chair, you will see that that they are very similar indeed – in fact they clearly come from the same set. The upholstery has been changed, and ours are side chairs, while Washington’s chair was a more authority-laden armchair, but otherwise they are identical.
Join us later this year when Nick Stagliano, a graduate student at Parsons School of Design/Cooper Hewitt Design Museum gives a lecture presentation on George Washington’s inaugural chair! He is sure to mention the surprising coincidence of the Wallace House’s owning chairs from the same set, and may be able to retrace the path they took before they came to sit here, in the Wallace House dining room, under the image of Mary Maddox.