The Museum Collection
English Revival Tall Back Side Chair from Allan Home
Description:The brass plaque attached to the back of this chair reads: "This chair, in the Allan Home when Poe lived there, was purchased by Mrs. Charles E. Wortham at the sale of the Allan furniture. It was given in 1950 to the Poe Foundation by her nephew Charles E. Jenkins." The home referred to above is the Allan home "Moldavia" in which Poe lived with his foster parents, John and Frances Allan, from 1825 until 1827. After John Allan's death in 1834, his second wife, Louisa G. Allan, resided there until her own death in 1881, after which many of the contents were sold at auction. This chair was presumably purchased at that auction. The mansion, which stood at 5th and Main Streets in Richmond, was demolished in 1890.
The chair is a mid-nineteenth century English Revival of a mid-seventeenth century (Jacobian Style) tall back side chair. A newspaper article written by one of the Allan relatives in 1899 describes this as one of a set of dining room chairs used in the home. While it was most likely used in the Allan house, it was probably built after 1840, long after Poe had moved out of the home.
The back of the chair has twist-turned side stiles and a carved eagle cresting on a carved frame cane splat. The seat is also a carved caned frame. The legs are carved and connected by an H stretcher with an ornately carved front member.