This pair of dramatically pierced carved chairs is signed by the maker T.H. Mauk (b.1833, d.1898) of Mechanicsburg, Penn. He travelled from Germany at age 19 and eventually settled in Mechanicsburg operating as a furniture builder and undertaker. It was quite common to ply both trades given that undertakers also built coffins for their clients and supplemented their income as cabinet makers. The solid walnut chairs are pierced carved with both floral and Gothic designs. Notice the slender serpentine shaped legs. Amazingly, the chairs are free of breaks or repairs. Obviously they require recovering. Their finish is in excellent condition. Chairs of this style and design were often referred to as hall chairs and were used by visiting guests who have “come calling” and are waiting to be received.
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