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The American patriot who commissioned this chair was an ardent supporter of Colonial artisans and, strange to say, deeply opposed to the im-portation of manufactured goods from England.

From the initials SM inscribed in white chalk to the back seat rail, corresponding to virtually identical marks on another chair advertised on page 766 of the April issue of American magazine Antiques, the auctioneers believed this transitional piece, c.1755, to be from a set of chairs belonging to Samuel Morris.

One of 28 men who formed the first Philadelphia City Troop of Light Horse, Morris rose to the rank of captain and served beside George Washington during the revolutionary war and at the battles of Princeton and Trenton. Later a key member of the Pennsylvania Assembly and the Committee of Safety, he became governor of the Schuylkill Colony in 1776 and held that post until his death.

The front seat rail is etched with two vertical strokes and the slip seat frame with five slashes, but it is not known where the other chairs are or how many are in the set. UK dealers with any idea should take their holidays stateside this year – get some pay back and retire very comfortably.