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95/338/1 Armchairs, pair, cabbage tree wood / paint, attributed to [Arthur] Ridgeway, Taree, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1930
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Object statement
Armchairs, pair, cabbage tree wood / paint, attributed to [Arthur] Ridgeway, Taree, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1930
Probably designed by the maker. The style of the chairs has much in common with early 19th century English bamboo chairs.

Construction of the chairs is traditionally attributed to Mr (possibly Arthur) Ridgeway, an Aboriginal man living in the Taree area in the 1930s. The chairs are the subject of two photographs in Ella Simon's Through my eyes (Rigby, 1978), one showing 'Mr' Ridgeway with three armchairs and a two-seater in front of his 'hut', the other showing Mary Ridgeway with daughters Nita and Marcia in a version of the chair in front of the same hut.

The approximate date of 1930 is based on the style of clothes worn by Mary Ridgeway in the cited photo. It is possible the chairs were made as a source of income during the Depression.
The chairs were used by vendor's grandmother, Caroline Bennett, in her large federation-style house 'Curzon', Victoria Street, Taree during the 1930s. The house had an extensive garden managed by an Aboriginal gardener, George Thorpe. It is thought he may have been the contact with Mr Ridgeway. The set originally included a two-seater. The vendors also have a walking stick said to have been carved by George Thorpe.
The chairs have remained in the Bennett family since the 1930s.

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Description
Armchairs, pair, cabbage tree wood / paint, attributed to [Arthur] Ridgeway, Taree, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1930

Pair of armchairs, the slatted arms, backs and seats made of cabbage tree (Livistona australis) canes probably obtained from the Forster/Tuncurry area, cross-stretchers and framing elements of other unidentified wood; each chair painted with black enamel with evidence of previous paint coats beneath.

Made: 1925 - 1935
95/338/1
Production date
1925 - 1935

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Purchased 1995
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/147850
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/147850 |title=95/338/1 Armchairs, pair, cabbage tree wood / paint, attributed to [Arthur] Ridgeway, Taree, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1930 |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=28 January 2015 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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