Collections Corner

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Richard Wistar’s chair. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller

Richard Wistar’s Chair

Wyck has an assortment of hidden treasures within her rooms, treasures you’ll only discover by coming for a tour. One particularly fun piece is a large walnut armchair, with a generous sized seat. This chair was commissioned by Caspar Wistar, third generation owner of Wyck, in 1765 for his son, Richard Wistar. Richard had gout, a type of arthritis which causes inflammation in joints, and therefore had very large legs. The armchair is a multi-use tool; not only can one sit in it, but this chair has a leather slip seat which can be removed to expose a toilet seat. This seat looks like a magnificent throne, and could be used as such!

This piece has been passed down from family member to family member, eventually find its way into Jansen Haines’ possession. His mother, Margaret Vaux Wistar Haines, left the chair to him, but she did not expect him to fit in the chair, stating in her will, “altho I have no ambition that he shall ever be so large as to fill it as his worth ancestor is said to have done.” Nobody has been able to fill the chair since its original owner, Richard. Today this chair can be found in the library at Wyck, eager for people to gander at its beautiful craftsmanship.

Richard Wistar’s Chair. Photo Credit: Victoria Mueller