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From the Collection: A New Chair

Art, Collections, Conservation, History, Sarah Stroud Clarke

Drayton Hall Preservation Trust is always delighted to accept new objects into our decorative arts collection and we are happy to present our latest acquisition courtesy of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina on behalf of Mrs. Emma Sachleben Drayton-Grimke (1849-1946). The klismos shaped side chair is thought to date to c. 1815-1830 and is painted black with stenciled and gilded decoration with a caned seat.
The chair was donated to the Colonial Dames by Mrs. Emma Sachleben Drayton-Grimke prior to 1924. A catalog written in 1924 notes the chair as follows:

“EMPIRE SIDE CHAIR with gilt stencil. From Archdale Hall. It was originally imported by the Hon. John Drayton for Drayton Hall. Gift of Mrs. John Drayton Grimke. (Emma Sachleben Drayton-Grimke).”

Given its style and decoration, the chair was more likely acquired from within the United States from either New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore. The age of the chair points to the “Hon. John Drayton” being Governor John Drayton (1766-1822), the grandson of the creator of Drayton Hall, John Drayton (1715-1779).

Mrs. Emma Bohun Sachleben Drayton-Grimke (1859-1946) married Reverend John Drayton-Grimke (1857-1895) of St. Michael’s Parish in 1892. Reverend Drayton-Grimke died prematurely in 1895 and Emma continued to reside at 5 Legare Street for the remainder of her life. Mrs. Emma Drayton-Grimke also owned the property of the former Archdale Hall from 1901-1944, being the niece of Dr. Richard Bohun Baker who died in 1901. Archdale Hall was destroyed in the 1886 earthquake and never served as a Drayton property. The connections between the chair, Archdale Hall, and the Drayton-Grimke family require further study and the newly acquired chair will require conservation work. Stay tuned for updates on this mysterious new collections object.