Philadelphia Windsor chair branded by William Cox and Joseph Henzey, ca. 1794
Henry Knox purchased a number of Windsor chairs to furnish Montpelier. A receipt in the Knox financial papers at the Maine Historical Society shows that he started with a set of “Twelve oval backd white colord armchairs” and “Twelve oval back white colord chairs without arms,” purchased from William Cox in 1794. Another receipt indicates that he followed up in 1795 with 66 more. This chair, one of those purchased from Cox, has mahogany arms and the original white paint can be seen underneath later coats of white paint. It bears Cox’s stamp, W. Cox, on the underside of the seat, as well as the stamp IH twice. According to Charles Santore, the stamp IH is associated with the later work of Joseph Henzey, a Philadelphia chairmaker who worked from about 1760-1806. There is no other record that these two men ever worked together. It is possible that Cox simply required assistance to assemble the large 1795 order. An identical chair at Montpelier only bears Coxs stamp, and may be one of the original order for 24 chairs. This chair is very typical of both makers work: It is a classic Philadelphia chair, with bamboo turnings and arms attached by mortise-and-tenon joints. Both Cox and Henzey were producing many such chairs during this period, without much variety. Knoxs Windsor chairs were sold at auction in 1854, and many local people bought them as mementos of Montpelier. Only armchairs are known to be extant. Eight have been returned to Montpelier, one is in the collections of
the Maine Historical Society, and one is known to be in a private collection. An identical arm chair bearing identical stamps is at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, and may also be part of Knox’s set.
Donated to Montpelier by M.J. Watts
Accession number: A-1-32
Henry Knox Papers, Collection 166 of the Maine Historical Society
Close-up of makers’ marks