American Furniture & Decorative Arts

U.S. House Seat

Thomas Constantine

New York cabinetmaker Thomas Constantine was awarded the commission to supply approximately 190 armchairs for the United States House of Representatives following the burning of the Capitol building in Washington during the War of 1812. The House’s commission specifically stated that the chairs were to be "made out of the best St. Domingo mahogany, well seasoned, strong neat and plain, without any superfluous ornament." Today, only six known examples survive, and one of these will be offered in the April 5 auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts (Lot 344)

Aesthetics, Politics, and Power in Early-Nineteenth-Century Washington: Thomas Constantine & Co.'s Furniture for the United States Capitol, 1818–1819, a scholarly article by Matthew Thurlow published by the Chipstone Foundation, offers fascinating details about this historic commission. Read More

Portrait of specialist David A.  Gallager
SVP/Executive Director, Furniture & Decorations / Director, American Furniture & Decorative Arts
American Furniture & Decorative Arts
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