Maggie Lidz, estate historian and curator of garden and estate objects provides an update on garden furniture:
A set of 20th century Chinese Chippendale-style chairs, now in the Loggia on the East Terrace and visible from the Dining Room Porch, have been at Winterthur and used on the East Terrace since the early 1930s. The chairs, made of iron, steel, and brass, are from an unknown manufacturer but are typical of stylish garden furniture of the time.
Colored stereo-views from 1935 show the chairs inside the enclosed porch off the Port Royal Parlor. Other photos from the same time period show the chairs inside the Loggia on the East Terrace. In 1948, in anticipation of the opening of the museum, the enclosed porch was reinstalled as the Hall of Statues. In the 1950s, the chairs, were used on the terrace behind the Cottage.
The color of the chairs was blue right through at least 1976 when they were inventoried as part of a larger collections assessment project of iron in the garden. By the end of the 1980s, they were repainted black and used at various times around the Reflecting Pool, the Vauxhall Porch, and the Conservatory. In 2010, paint conservator Susan Buck analyzed the chairs and established the exact color.
The blue-gray color, a fashionable shade in the early 1930s, contributes to restoring a look of age and domesticity to the garden. The repainted chairs are a small element in the garden department’s effort to diminish the institutional aspects of the garden. So, go out to the loggia, enjoy the sound of the fountain, the cool shade, and the pleasant place to sit.