• 456 A Rare Turned and Black-Painted Windsor Bow-Back Side Chair, Branded I. Henzey, Philadelphia, circa 1791 

Made for the Pennsylvania State Assembly, The arched bowed back above nine tapered bamboo-turned spindles and shaped plank seat below bamboo turned legs joined by bamboo-turned stretchers. Stamped I . HENZEY, also branded CITY & COUNTY OF PA. on underside of the seat Retains a brown varnished surface. Height of seat 17 in. (43.2 cm); height of crest 37 ¼ in. (94.6 cm.)
Joseph Henzey (1743-1796) of Philadelphia

In 1743, Joseph Henzey, who generally omitted the “s” from his given surname Henzey, was born to Joshua and Mary Henzey, members of the Quaker organization the Philadelphia Meeting of the Society of Friends. Henezy completed his apprenticeship in the chairmaking trade by the mid-1790s and was active as a Windsor chairmaker in Philadelphia as early as 1767, when he is listed in the tax assessment for that year (Evans, Nancy, American Windsor Chairs, New York, 1996, p. 89). On September 15, 1772, he married Deborah Marshall, a daughter of Thomas and Ann Marshall, at a Philadelphia Meeting of the Society of Friends gathering. During that same year, he taught Isaac Covert and David Stakhouse, two apprentices in his workshop, “ the trade or a turner and windsor chair makers”.

Henzey produced finely proportioned high-black, fan-back, sack-back, and bow-back Windsor chairs with turnings characterized by their long, shapely balusters, large flaring spools, and slightly bulging rings. On April 13, 1791, he sold a set of windsor chairs stamped “I . HENZEY CITY & COUNTY OF PHI” on the seat undersides, to the Pennsylvania State Assembly for 61-5-0 pounds. Genealogical research conducted by Carl M Williams in 1979 indicates the presently offered chair was one of that set.

When Henzey died in 1796, he was succeeded by his son Joseph Henzey Jr., also a “Windsor painter and chair maker.” For Additional information on Joseph Henzey see Evans, Nancy G.,, American Windsor Chairs, New York, 1996, and Santore, Charles, The Windsor Style in America, Vol. I and II, Philadelphia, 1981 and 1987.

Joseph Smith (1788-1843) married Sarah Townsend, daughter of Noah Townsend of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, prior to 1811.
By descent through family to Mrs. Wernle of Glenolden, Pennsylvania, great-granddaughter of Joseph Smith
Purchased from Wernle by Stanly S. Wohl, Annapolis Maryland, 1936
Sotheby Park-Bernet Inc., Fine Americana. Property of the Estate of Stanley S. Whole, Annapolis Maryland, June 23, 1979, sale 4268, lot 1266
Israel Stack Inc., New York 1979.

According to family tradition, Joseph Smith acquired the presently offered Windsor side chair during the first quarter of the nineteenth century from the old State House in Philadelphia, when he was a clerk of the Supreme Court. The chair descended through the family until it was sold by his granddaughter, Mr. Wernle, to Stanley S. Wohl of Annapolis, Maryland in April 1939.


Highly Important Americana from Stanley Paul Sax Collection, January 16th-17th, 1998, SOTHEBY’S, Publications, New York, 1998. 

Auction: Friday, January 16, 1998 at approximately 2:30 pm; Saturday, January 17, 1998 at 10:15 am and 2 pm. William F. Ruprecht, Principle Auctioneer, License No. 0794917.

Sale Code: 7087-SAX


Medium: Oil on canvas,
Dimensions: 91.44 cm x 121.92 cm (36” x 48”)
Date of Creation: March 2016