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Object ID # 1965.002.002
Object Name Armchair
Title One of Miss Macphail's Chairs
Lexicon category 2: Building Furnishings
Artist Imperial Rattan Company
Made Imperial Rattan Co.
Place of Origin Ontario
Description This is a blue-upholstered wicker arm chair. The oval-shaped, metal maker's label is found on the lower rear of the chair" IMPERIAL / RATTAN COMPANY. / LIMITED / STRATFORD." The chair has a squared, padded headrest and the backrest upholstery has four matching blue buttons. There is a row of upholstery tacks along the top. The chair has sustained some wear on the backrest. There are some metal springs visible if you look at the underside. The wickerwork (rattan) on the back side has a much looser pattern than the rattan on the other arm chair that Miss Macphail had. See RELATED for the other 2 matching pieces.

[Is there a maker's label on it? Or on the matching divan?]
Makers mark Oval, metal maker's label is on the back side: "IMPERIAL / RATTAN COMPANY. / LIMITED / STRATFORD".
Provenance The couch and chairs set was made in Stratford, Ontario by the Imperial Rattan Co. The set belonged to Miss Agnes Campbell Macphail (1890-1954), who was Canada's first female Member of Parliament, beginning in 1921. She had this wicker set when she worked and resided in Ottawa.

This item, and its matching chair and couch, were sent to Grey County from Ottawa when they were in jeopardy of being burned, as no one wanted the pieces there anymore. They were at the Grey County Administration building c.1965 before they joined the museum collection.

As Macphail lost her federal riding during the Second World War, she likely obtained the set in the 1920s or 1930s? The Imperial Rattan Co. was producing aircraft bomber spars and wing parts during the Second World War, but then continued furniture making into the 1950s afterwards.

Macphail had a family connection to Stratford, as she had an aunt and uncle who lived there, and that is the town where she finished her highschool education when she left the Owen Sound Collegiate Institute. It is also where she attended the Stratford Normal School to get her teacher's training.
Collection Furniture, 20th-c Collection
Material Rattan/Fabric/Finish/Thread/Metal/Dye
Dimensions H-36 W-27 D-37 inches
Found Ottawa, Ontario
People Macphail, Agnes