Attributed to Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854)

New York, c. 1825

The white oblong marble top above a conforming case with a blind cock-beaded frieze drawer flanked by ormolu appliqués of a boy and girl playing musical instruments.  The case bottom edge is bordered by a strip of rosewood with two brass string inlays. The case is raised on acanthus carved and gilded scrolled supports and paneled pilasters flanking a mirrored back on an concave plinth raised of four gilded and verde-antique-decorated acanthus-carved and turned feet.

H: 36½”  W: 41¾”  D: 17½”

Condition: Very Good; The original marble has been repaired and crack lines are skillfully blended with the gray figuring of the marble.  Original gilding on the scrolls has been in-gilded where necessary and the feet have been re-gilded to match in accordance with other known examples.  Retaining its original mirror and back board.  Old re-finish.

The highly successful design of this table is anomalous in many ways.  Although the carved scrolled trusses fall comfortably within the classical idiom and the design relates to a “Console Table” published in George Smith’s The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (London, 1828), pl. LXIV, their use in New York pier tables of the 1820’s is extremely rare.  Their use here is an early appearance of the influence of the French Restauraion style in the US and a movement from the Empire towards the more archeologically accurate. A pair of New York pier tables in the Museo Palacio Cantero in Trinidad de Cuba with gilded scrolled supports are the only known related examples.  Similarly, frieze drawers in American pier tables are almost unheard of.  This one appears to have been created at the original customer’s request after the case was constructed.

The carved and decorated feet of this table are familiar, however.  They are almost identical to those on a pair of brass mounted and inlaid rosewood card tables attributed to Duncan Phyfe, c. 1825 in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[1]

[1] 19th-Century America: Furniture and other Decorative Arts (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), pl. 71.

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