Enlarge Text

Q: I inherited four Gothic Revival side chairs attributed to J. and J.W. Meeks. I was told they once belonged to the White House and were used in Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet Room. How can I establish authenticity?

A: It is probably impossible for you to determine that the chairs were used in the White House during Lincoln’s administration (1861-65). It is known that during the Polk administration (1845-49), as many as 24 black walnut Gothic Revival chairs made by J. and J.W. Meeks of New York City were purchased for the White House. Lincoln used some of the chairs in his Cabinet Room (now the “Lincoln Bedroom”). The chairs are shown in the painting, “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln.” Four chairs are still in the White House collection. First see if your chairs match those shown in the painting, on display at the U.S. Capitol (the image can be found online). If the chairs match, at least you can say your chairs are identical to those in the White House and were made by Meeks. But without any additional history, it’s unlikely you can ever prove the chairs were once owned by the White House.





Login to leave a comment.

Join The Discussion

Kovels.com is pleased to share your comments. Your postings may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in our print publications. We encourage a variety of opinions, but ask that you refrain from profanity and hate speech. To post comments, you must be a registered user of Kovels.com. Please remember that your username will appear with any comments you post.

Get The Latest Collecting News Every Week for FREE!

Enter your email below to receive Kovels Komments for the latest antiques & collectibles news, answers to readers questions, marks and tips. In your inbox every Wednesday.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy or Contact us for more information.
Kovels Premium