Games Table by Duncan Phyfe


Attributed to Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854)

New York,  c.1820

The hinged D-shaped cross banded swivel top with book-matched walnut inlay outlined with ebony stringing, opening to a mahogany playing surface, above a knife-edge molding on a conforming case, the well lined with marbleized paper and the frieze with highly figured mahogany with an ebony molding with two brass strings at the bottom edge, above a trestle base with veneered pedestals with gilt-bronze capitals and bases  on block plinths connected by a cylindrical stretcher with gilt-wood collars at each end and raised on saber legs inlaid with figured mahogany and ebony stringing, terminating in elaborate brass toe caps and casters. Marked on the underside of the top is VIII.    Woods: Mahogany, Walnut, Ebony, Ash, Tulip Poplar.

H: 29”  W: 36”  D: 18”

Condition: Excellent: small imperfections in the veneer have been restored on the bottom of the stretcher and on the proper left edge of the top.  A butterfly joint has been used in the top to stabilize shrinkage cracks.  The gilt collars on the stretcher are re-gilded.  Thin plinths below the blocks holding the stretcher are replaced as is the brass stringing on the frieze. The toe caps and caster wheels have been restored to their original lacquered appearance. The table top has a later lacquer surface.

This card table exhibits all the characteristics that experts have come to associate with the firm of Duncan Phyfe including the form, the construction of the case, the fine selection of woods, the marbleized paper-lined well and the baize inlaid top edge of the well.  Additionally, it is closely related to two trestle-base card tables that are two of only eight known pieces of furniture to actually bear the label of Duncan Phyfe.  One of these, one almost identical to the present table except for the feet, sold at Christie’s, October 8, 1997, lot 86.[1]

Also closely related to the present table are a pair of documented card tables made by Phyfe for Samuel A. Foot of New York in 1837, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a table made for John Jacob Astor, also pictured in Nancy McClelland’s Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency.[2]


[1] Also pictured in Peter M. Kenny & Michael K. Brown et al. Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011), p.287, 2.22.  An other closely related rosewood card table with gilt stenciled decoration on the frieze and acanthus carved knees sold at Christie’s Jun 18, 2003, lot 176.

[2] McClelland, p. 272, pl. 259 and p. 252, pl. 239.

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