FINE CARVED MAHOGANY BOX SOFA

Attributed to Anthony G. Quervelle (1789-1856)

Philadelphia, c. 1830

The scrolled crest with gilt stringing and inlaid rosewood above an upholstered back, and seat flanked by Ionic-shaped arms terminating in an Ionic capital with Lotus leaves carved in the cymatium, above scrolled supports terminating in a “booted” lion’s paw, above plinths connected by the molded, veneered, seat rail, raised on elaborately lotus and acanthus carved, conical legs, with brass caster wheels.

H: 33″ W: 80″  D: 24″  Seat height 16″

Condition: Excellent.

There is much furniture attributed to Anthony Quervelle, Philadelphia’s most famous cabinetmaker of the Classical period, but few labeled or documented examples.  Among the many pier tables attributed to him, only three are labeled and can, therefore, be ascribed to him without question.  Two of these tables, one in the White House and the other at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, have scrolled supports with “booted” lion’s-paw feet very closely related to the those on the present sofa.  It is on this basis that this sofa is attributed to Quervelle.  The “booted” paw foot is derived from designs for “Side Board Legs”  published by George Smith in The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (London, 1828), pl XVII, which, in turn, is rooted in classical antiquity.[1]

Additionally, the rounded plinth that the “booted” foot sits on and the carved, conical foot below it are closely related to those on the White House pier table documented to Quervelle.

Two sofas ascribed to Quervelle and documented on an invoice, are part of the original furnishings at Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, LA.  These are in the Grecian Plain-Style and date to 1835.   It is a small detail and perhaps not unique to Quervelle, but it should not go without noting that the molded seat rail of the Rosedown sofas, and that of the present sofa, are the same.

We are familiar with only one other closely related sofa.[2]

S-C-GEB-183101

[1] Carswell Rush Berlin, Solid and Permanent Grandeur: The Design Roots of American Classical Furniture International Fine Art and Antiques Dealers Show Catalog (New York: Haughton Shows, 2002), 17-26.

[2] A sofa of closely related design with forward facing scrolled arm rests with “booted” lion’s paw feet and brass appliqués sold at Sotheby’s, sale 6800, January 19-20, 1996, lot 1613.

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