CLASSICAL SOFA LABELED BY COOK AND PARKIN
Thomas Cook (1789-1868) and Richard Parkin (1787-1861)
Bearing Ink Stencil: Cook & Parkin (active 1819-1833)
Philadelphia, c. 1830
The scrolled crest terminating at each end with cyma curves and anthemion carving, above an upholstered back, and seat flanked by arms with carved scallop shells, above plinths connected by a bolection-molded and gadrooned seat rail, raised on stout lotus-carved and turned conical legs, with ball feet. The back board bearing the ink stencil: COOK & PARKIN/ CABINET WARE/ PHILADELPHIA.
H: 35″ W: 89″ D: 24½”
Condition: Excellent. Small loss to carving on the proper-left shell, retaining antique surface, modern upholstery.
Allison and Jonathan Boor, Philadelphia Empire Furniture (West Chester, PA., Boor Management, 2006), 378.
Carswell Rush Berlin “‘A Shadow of a Magnitude’: The Furniture of Thomas Cook and Richard Parkin,” American Furniture, edited by Luke Beckerdite (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2013), 175.
The form of this sofa with shell-carved arm-rests is typical of Philadelphia box sofas of this period and there are at least four related labeled examples by other Philadelphia cabinetmakers including Joseph Barry, Charles & John White, David Fleetwood and H.B. (William) Grubb. A drawing of a closely related Philadelphia box sofa with shell-carved arm rests, attributed to Anthony Quervelle, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, suggests that he too produced this regionally distinctive model. Joseph Barry made a pair of these for President Andrew Jackson.
Cook & Parkin, working at 56 & 58 Walnut Street between Dock and Third, were among the largest and most successful of the Philadelphia cabinetmakers of the Classical period. More information about them can be found on this website under “Insights“.