Mathew Brady presidential chair valued at $250,000

The Mathew Brady studio chair is to cross the block at Bonhams New York on October 26 with a $150,000-250,000 estimate.

Five US presidents and various senators, generals and notables posed in the chair, making it a unique piece of American history.

Most notably it appears in the moving photographs of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad, taken in 1864.


Brady chair Bonhams
The Brady chair features in a number of important 19th century photographs

Built by American furniture maker Bembe & Kimbel around 1857 for the House of Representatives, the chair later ended up in the studio of photographer Mathew Brady (1822-1896).

Lincoln himself is believed to have presented it as a gift. He was a close friend of Brady's colleague Alexander Gardner and the lot is referred to as "the Lincoln chair" in documentation.

Madelia Ring, Bonhams' head of English & American folk art, comments: "There is perhaps no other single object that connects with so many important people, all prominent figures in 19th-century American history.

"What also gives the Brady chair such distinction, is that while other commissioned chairs occasionally surface at auction, those bearing the stamp of Bembe & Kimbel are rare."

Brady photographed 18 of the 19 presidents who took office during his career.

He was also a pioneer in the field of documentary photography and captured some of the earliest battlefield scenes on record.

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