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Chair, Senate Chamber


Image: Chair, Senate Chamber (Cat. no. 65.00106.000)
by T. Constantine and Co.
Mahogany, mahogany veneer, maple, brass, 1819 ca.
Overall measurement
      Height: 36.75 inches  (93.34 cm)
      Width:  23.25 inches  (59.05 cm)
      Depth: 25.75 inches  (65.4 cm)
Cat. no. 65.00106.000

When British troops burned the U.S. Capitol during the War of 1812, the Senate Chamber was extensively damaged and its furnishings destroyed. To replace what was lost, New York cabinetmaker Thomas Constantine was commissioned to provide the Senate with 48 Senate Chamber desks (at a cost of $34 each), and 48 leather upholstered chairs (at a cost of $46 each). Completed in time for the reopening of the Chamber in December of 1819, Constantine’s chairs bore a close resemblance to a neoclassical design published by Thomas Hope in his book Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (London, 1807). While all of the desks are still in use, sometime in the late 19th century the chairs were gradually removed. Of the original 48 Constantine chairs, only three are known to still exist. This chair has been significantly modified from its original form—the original carved arm supports, casters, and red morocco leather upholstery have been removed.