English Windsor Nanny Chair
This traditional 19th-century Windsor chair features an ergonomically carved saddle seat, and gently curved back consisting of six slats, designed to comfortably support an individual holding a child. Decoratively carved, splayed legs featuring a bulbous base, a tapered lower portion, layered ring motifs, and a bell-like shape anchor into sockets in the underside of the seat. An H-shaped stretcher connects the legs to provide stability, which is typical of Windsor chairs produced in America in the 18th and 19th centuries. The origins of the Windsor chair can be dated back to the town of Windsor, England in the 17th century. By the early 18th century, the chairs were being shipped from Windsor to London, and a few decades later, they had reached the American colonies across the Atlantic. There, they gained great popularity due to their lightness, comfortability, and association with the Founding Fathers, and began to be widely produced. Often constructed in separate pieces, different woods would have been used for the seat, spindles, and legs, such as oak, ash, hickory, and maple. Windsor chairs were often painted at a later date to hide these differences. Historians ascribe the period of 1725–1860 as the height of quality and craftsmanship for these chairs, though they remain popular to the present day. Existing examples prior to 1790 and those without later alterations are extremely rare. The history and well-preserved, original condition of this Windsor chair add to its aesthetic charm and functional capacity in the home.
At this time in England, Marie Curie (1867–1934) and her husband, Pierre Curie (1859–1906) discovered the existence of the elements radium and polonium in 1898 through their research on the mineral pitchblende. The couple managed to isolate radioactive radium salts in 1902, leading them to win the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics alongside French scientist A. Henri Becquerel (1852–1908) for their investigations of the element. Marie Curie would work extensively with radium throughout her life, characterising its properties and investigating and championing its medical potential. Marie Curie received a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry, for her isolation of radium in 1911. Curie was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, and remains the only person to be awarded Nobel Prizes in two scientific categories.