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Fiddler's Throne

1927.2289.1 (RS32587)


The projecting cornice above a panel of reeded diamonds continuing to concave niche with plank seat flanked by flat columns with herringbone reeding above a stepped and shaped semi-circular base. Back is painted grey and stenciled in green.


"Cherished Possessions": Virtually every hamlet in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century New England had at least one tavern. Usually placed at the junction of well-traveled roads, taverns accommodated travelers and served as community centers where people gathered to eat and drink, share news, hold meetings, hear lectures, listen to music, and dance. This fiddler's throne comes from the Mack Tavern in Deerfield, New Hampshire, a small village on the stagecoach road between Concord and Portsmouth. Positioned along the wall of a large hall, the seat gave the musician a place of honor, above the crowd so that his music could be heard. In 1919, after the tavern fell into decay, preservationists rescued the throne.
ca. 1810
Associated Building
Original To Mack Tavern.
molding (forming)
painting (coating)
pine (wood)
Object type
Building Component
Deerfield (Grafton county, New Hampshire)
New Hampshire (United States)
Descriptive terms
molding (forming)
painting (coating)
pine (wood)
seats and seat components
96 (H) (inches)
Accession Number
Credit Line
Museum Purchase


stolen item in your possessi0n #

AvatarPosted by sharon timmons on September 14, 2010
this was stolen from our tavern/house and we want it back! Mack's tavern is still standing and I want a receipt that shows proof that it was paid for! This was a main part of my house!

This object is not stolen #

AvatarPosted by Adrienne Donohue on September 15, 2010
The fiddler's throne's history and transfer of ownership to Historic New England is well-documented. It was removed by preservationists from the Mack Tavern in 1919, after the tavern had fallen into disrepair, and purchased by a Miss Twitchell (who wrote an article about it in Antiques magazine, June 1922). She then presented it to the New Hampshire Society of Cincinnati in Exeter, NH, where it was stored until Historic New England purchased it in 1927 through Captain William Lithgow Willey, secretary of the New Hampshire Society of Cincinnati.
Also well-documented is the fact that the Mack Tavern in Deerfield, NH, was torn down in 1926. Perhaps there was another tavern of the same name in which you now live.

Adrienne Donohue
Collection Manager
Historic New England

Fiddler's Throne #

AvatarPosted by David Ottinger on February 29, 2012
Are there better pictures or drawings of this object or is it available to view? I have a house in Deerfield, N.H. that has woodwork with reeding that is very similar in addition to the stenciling that is by the same artist. It is well known by town historians the Tavern doesn't survive and I have been shown the remains of the foundation on South Road.

Fiddler's Throne images #

AvatarPosted by Nancy Carlisle on February 29, 2012
David, the Fiddler's throne is not on view, but you'd be welcome to make an appointment to come see it at Historic New Endland's Collections and Conservation Center. In the meantime I'll send you a couple of images of it off line.

Nancy Carlisle
Senior Curator of Collections

Fiddler's Seat of the Mack Tavern South Rd. Deerfield NH #

AvatarPosted by Jonathan Clark on April 28, 2015
I have been researching just a bit this item. It Is a fun piece with a very interesting history. I am wondering if you have an idea of its origins prior to the Macks who purchased the home which house the tavern for so many years. I am interested because this tavern was described as a large home on south Rd. And one of the very early homes. Joanne Wasson who wrote about this in her book "Tales Of Old Deerfield" suggest previous owners being perhaps the Cilleys. But, in talking with her recently (2015) it seems it is reasonable to consider another original owner and builder of this house. Very early on about 1769 when the brothers Richard and Thomas Jenness came from Rye NH as very young men to manage their fathers lands on South Rd. Just under a thousand acres they built a log cabin and lived there together until after their father died and they inherited and promptly built fine large homes on South Rd. About a half mile apart around 1785. Richard House still stands but could the Mack Tavern have been Thomas'. The second floor ball room with partitions that opened the room up seems in character with the Jenness homes and most of the realy old homes on South Rd. Seem to have origins in the Jenness family or through some attachment but was the address preserved or further records. Well if there are answers that would be wonderful otherwise maybe it might spur a new look. Sources of my information Joanne Wasson and her book "Tales of Old Deerfield"; Early American Stencils on Walls and Furniture, Janet Waring, "Memorial of Hon. Richard Jenness" by John Scribner Jenness

Fiddler's Throne in Historic New England's collection #

AvatarPosted by Nicole Chalfant - Collection Manager on April 29, 2015
Thank you so much for this information, Mr. Clark. Your research sounds very interesting and I will include this in the object's file.
Nicole Chalfant
Collection Manager