Pair of Federal Side Chairs
Attributed to William and Washington Tuck
37” T 20” W 17” D
The saddle seat or “sofa” chair form was often favored by the conservative patrons of John Shaw’s Annapolis shop. The distinctive seat was most frequently combined with over the rail upholstery and outlined in large brass tacks that dramatized the inverted arch. MESDA research files S-3617 record examples of the tulip splat chairs with this treatment and very similar inlay patterns. Brothers William(c1774-1813) and Washington Tuck (1781-1859) both trained in the Shaw shop and were certainly the makers of numerous examples of this popular style.
While the similarities to labeled Shaw shop chairs are unmistakable and this pair of chairs could have been produced in there, it is more likely that they came from the independent workshop the brothers operated in the period from 1808 until William’s death in 1813. The lack of stretchers, standard on Shaw shop chairs, suggest a later date and the freedom to introduce new styles the Tuck brothers enjoyed once removed from the conservative conventions of their former master.