Rocking Chair (2017.0001)

Between 1804 and 1830, the Dominy craftsmen recorded the sale of twelve rocking chairs in their shop accounts, indicating that they designed and purpose-built this form rather than retrofitting old frames with rockers. Nathaniel V deliberately reversed the orientation of the vasiform splat in this example as an alternate composition for the back. The wooden template for this splat design is included in the Dominy tool collection.

Nathaniel V may have made this chair in 1817 for Abraham Baker (1729–1817) at a cost of 14 shillings (equivalent to wages earned for nearly two days of work). Abraham’s daughter, Elizabeth Baker (b. 1757), married Jesse Pierson, and the chair may have passed laterally in the Pierson family to Southampton native Philetus Pierson (1801–1879), a whaling captain who operated out of Sag Harbor.