A hand-carved reproduction of George Washington's Rising Sun Chair. The original mahogany chair is curated in the collection of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.
The original chair was George Washington's seat during the Constitutional Convention (1787) held at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall). The chair is named after a quote made by Benjamin Franklin. While watching the signing of the Constitution he remarked to those near him:
I have often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.
The Rising Sun Chair was crafted by John Folwell (circa 1779) and is curated in the collection of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.
The chair has a number of iconographic carvings. These include the rising sun (the chair's namesake) and just above a cap and pole, or liberty pole, a staff topped with a Phrygian cap. The liberty pole and cap were a common symbol of freedom during the American Revolution.
Cornucopias flank the sun, often used to symbolize abundance and fertility, they are perhaps projecting Folwell's wishes for the new country and the State of Pennsylvania. In a nod to rebirth, or possibly recognizing the state's agricultural abundance, wheat rises up the back splat to the crest rail.
C-scrolls, a common element of Rococo design popular in Europe in the mid 18th century, grace the ear of the crest rail embracing a fine check pattern. The back splat includes a series of motifs including more C-scrolls, drapes, wheat, and acanthus leaves, which were often used to symbolize enduring life.
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