Gothic Revival Style Chair, circa 1860-80
walnut, green velvet
Illinois State Museum Collection (x903)
Gothic Revival style was popular in the United States from 1830 through 1860, with a peak in popularity between 1840 and 1850. Both architects and furniture builders used this style. In 1842, in New York, Robert Conner published an important book called The Cabinet Maker's Assistant. It contained patterns for Gothic decoration that furniture makers could copy and adapt in their workshops.
Gothic Revival chairs were used in the home and in churches. This example is upholstered, so it may have been made for a parlor or reception room in a home or church. Because this chair is not highly polished nor intricately carved, compared to some other very ornate versions, perhaps it is a cottage version of Gothic. Cottage furniture was simple and inexpensive.