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Chair. 1884. Cow horn; wood; cloth upholstery. [Exotic or Novelty furniture] Acc. No. 29995

ChairDescription: Legs and arms use cow horn as a novelty material. Round seat and skirt are completely upholstered in dark reddish-purple plush, as is back. A cloth strip, now filed with the catalogue card but once attached to underside of chair reads: "F P Bush / Upholsterer Leominster / Mass / 1884" and "Georgetown / So. Ca." Currently on exhibit in the Collections Gallery of the Main Gallery. 

Discussion: Such intentionally unusual furniture was made in the western United States for the most part. Records indicate that Boston was, in a small way, an eastern center of this "rustic" type of furniture design. Elk antlers and untrimmed logs also were used during this same period to make novelty chairs.


Bishop, Robert C. The American Chair: Three Centuries of Style. New York: Dutton, 1972.
(See esp. pp. 412-13)
Butler, Joseph T. Field Guide to American Antique Furniture. New York: Henry Holt, 1986.
(See esp. p. 148)
Schwartz, Marvin D. Furniture: Chairs, Tables, Sofas, and Beds (The Knopf Collectors'
Guides to American Antiques) New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982. (See esp. p. 152)