FEDERAL CARVED MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD
New York 1810-1820
The splash back with a broken arch pediment with flanking carved pineapple finials above an oblong mahogany top with canted front corners and brass gallery sides above a conforming case with two short and one small central drawer supported by pairs of columns at the canted corners with carved Ionic capitals, resting on a concave-shaped shelf with brass beading, raised on pairs of canted carved paw feet corresponding to the columns above. Secondary Woods: white pine and tulip poplar.
Condition: Excellent: Replaced finials, later drawer pulls removed, shrinkage crack to top is stabilized from underneath.
H: 56¼” W: 71¾” D: 22”
Nancy McClelland’s Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency 1795-1830 (New York, 1939) pages 172 and 173 show sideboards attributed to Phyfe that exhibit related back splash (on page 172) and almost identical carved feet, Ionic capitals with paneled reserves above them and brass gallery (on page 173). A closely related sideboard to the example illustrated by McClelland, in the New York State Museum, is labeled by Michael Allison, one of Phyfe’s best known competitors. A high-post bed c.1815, descending in the family of Phyfe’s daughter, Eliza Phyfe Vail, has related waterleaf carving above the carved feet.1
The transitional design of this sideboard, exhibiting archeological classical elements but without the mass of the slightly later French sideboards with cabinets below the drawer case, hits a sweet spot in the evolution of Classicism that is both rare and desirable.
The outstanding quality of design, materials and carving of this Federal mahogany sideboard indicate the hand of a master such as Duncan Phyfe or Michael Allison.