Over a year ago, we acquired a beautiful mahogany chaise longue or settee, without knowing any background or history relating it, but because of its appearance and likely date of manufacture, begged questions and had to be bought.
It dates from the first half of the nineteenth century, and we now find that the balance of evidence is consistent with it being made in the US, and it depicts Sacajawea, and her totem, or that of the Shoshona tribe. She is the celebrated female member of the Lewis and Clark expedition that opened up the new US territories on the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. A Shoshona princess, kidnapped as a child by another tribe and later rescued by a French trapper, who joined the Expeditionary Corps, she is credited with having saved the long and treacherous mission, rescuing survey documents from rapids, offering guidance when the expedition would otherwise have been lost, and protecting them from attack from the native Americans at the time.
An immense debt is owed to her and she is valued as an American Woman of Importance. She was granted the right to vote by Lewis and Clark who were so impressed by her, long before any other US or European woman was permitted to vote. A stylised effigy of her appeared on a commemorative US dollar issued only last year.
We believe that if the settee can be linked to Lewis and Clark or historical figures around them, that very substantial value would apply to this item.
Images and some information about the settee are here under the Furniture section, and further details are available on request.