Classical Scrolled-back Grecian Sofa

Classical Scrolled-back Grecian Sofa by Duncan Phyfe: The scrolled crest rail with a central panel with bas-relief carved intertwined cornucopia issuing fruit and wheat, flanked by panels with carved "thunder bolts" in a bow knot, the reeded arms with carved rosettes at the ends continue to a reeded seat rail raised on reeded saber legs with brass paw feet on casters. H: 34¼"  W: 90"  D: 23"
Detail of bas-relief carved "thunder-bolts" tied with ribbon in the left and right panels of the crest rail.
Detail of central crest rail bas-relief of intertwined cornucopia issuing wheat and fruits.
 Detail of bas-relief carved "thunder-bolts" tied with ribbon in the left and right panels of the crest rail.

CARVED MAHOGANY CLASSICAL SCROLLED-BACK GRECIAN SOFA

In the manner of Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854)

New York, c. 1815

The scrolled crest rail with a central panel with bas-relief carved intertwined cornucopia issuing fruit and wheat, flanked by panels with carved “thunder bolts” in a bow knot, the reeded arms with carved rosettes at the ends continue to a reeded seat rail raised on reeded saber legs with brass paw feet on casters.

H: 34¼”  W: 90″  D: 23″

Condition: Good: restoration to p.r. front leg and p.l. seat rail above leg.  Modern horsehair upholstery in the original color with conservation webbing and materials.

Exhibited: Abigail Adams Smith Museum (now the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden), 1989-1991.

This is an iconic form in New York Classical furniture in the late-Sheraton style with influences of the French Directoire, illustrated in plate 7 from The New York Book of Prices for Manufacturing Cabinet and Chair Work, 1817, and relates to many sofas documented to Duncan Phyfe, c. 1810-1815.  The motifs of the carving are found on many Phyfe chairs and sofas and the quality of that carving is in every way comparable to the documented examples.  A curule-base sofa by Phyfe at the Metropolitan Museum with closely related crest rail carving can be seen here. The carved rosettes at the termination of the arms are a relatively rare and attractive feature.[1]

Provenance: Antiquarian Ron DeSilva

[1] Peter M. Kenny & Michael K. Brown, Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011), 158-167, 181.