Windsor Chair by Neal Genrichadmin
by Joshua Shepherd
Few pieces of furniture epitomize early America quite like the Windsor chair, and for good reason. Developed in the British Isles and then popularized in the New World by Philadelphia craftsmen, the Windsor came to dominate the chair maker’s art throughout the colonies. By the time the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the delegates were seated on Windsors; according to tradition, Thomas Jefferson penned the document while seated on a Windsor. George Washington eventually graced the portico of Mount Vernon with 27 of the chairs.
CLA artist Neal Genrich has donated a solid rendering of the timeless Sack Back Windsor to this year’s fundraising auction. Windsor chairs, he says, have traditionally been crafted from a variety of woods which lent themselves to particular parts of the chair. “Typically maple or birch legs,” explains Neal, “pine seats, ash or oak spindles and ash or oak steam bent parts.” Fitted with a steam bent back hoop, hand turned spindles, and distinctively splayed legs, this chair is constructed with a cherry under carriage, butternut seat with red oak spindles, arm and rail The chair is imparted with a warm patina achieved with a contemporary finish of hand rubbed oil and hard-wearing polyurethane.
A long time muzzleloading enthusiast, Genrich is a seasoned craftsman who’s been building fine furniture for over four decades. Despite his experience, the artist says that he’s “always humbled by the level of skills, knowledge and dedication present in the work displayed” by fellow CLA members. He sees the annual show and auction as a unique artistic venue worthy of support. “I also see the budget needed to function and felt this is a way I can help.”
For discriminating collectors, his chairs are a wise investment: gracefully resilient, enduring classics destined to see use as multi-generational heirlooms. Chair making, observes Neal, “Is not only a craft that supplies a household with comfortable seating, but it also provides the opportunity for artistic expression a feeling of accomplishment and of a job well done.”
Neal Genrich can be contacted by email at email@example.com.