Armchair

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Herter Brothers, manufacturer (New York)
Armchair, ca. 1872–1873
Walnut and walnut burl
98.1

The walnut open armchair was made in ca. 1872–1873 by German-born brothers, Gustave and Christian Herter, who owned an upscale New York design firm. Their client was Mr. Milton Latham — an investor who served as governor, representative, and senator of the young state of California — and his wife Mary McMullin. The couple commissioned the chair and other furnishings for Thurlow Lodge, their country home that was situated at the end of San Francisco Bay.

The armchair’s design is purely original and American. Christian Herter seems to have studied the new home’s setting, as the chair’s motifs reflect the plants and birds that surrounded it. The green damask silk covering is not original to the piece, but the horsehair stuffing is.