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THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR 
FOREFATHERS 

By ESTHER SINGLETON 

WITH CRITICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF PLATES 

By RUSSELL STURGIS 

ILLUSTRATED 

VOLUME II 




NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 
1906 



COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY 
DOUBLZDAY, PAG£ & CO. 



CONTENTS 
Volume II 

Part V New England from 1700 to 1776 . 315 
Imported and Home-made Pieces of the 
Eighteenth Century. 

Parj VI Chippendale ..... 403 
And Other Great Cabinet-Makers of 
the Eighteenth Century. 

Part VII Domestic and Imported Furniture 487 
From 1776 to 1830. 

Part VIII Woods, Upholstery and Styles . 571 
Of the Early Nineteenth Century. 



For detailed Contents and List of Illus- 
trations of each Part sec the front 
matter immediately preceding the 
above folios. Volume II con- 
tains a complete Index 
to the whole 



THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR ^^if 

FOREjFATHERS 






• * J 



V"^ 'ft' •■ '- ■ '■ 







THE FURMlTUJli: 

OF OUR 

FOREI^mERS 



.J 






iLLUST ilAli^D 



_:; ^ i>A«Tv 



i.-'Z. 



■r- i 






DOI.!tv..LbAX I'AGE AMD COMrAH/ l.'l 

9 






-'i.^^**:v--..i 






•iii'i 







SIX-LEGGED HIGH CASE OF DRAWERS 

Otiinti by Mr. Gtergt Dudlty Stpnmtr, Nrui Haven, Ctma See page J43. 




THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR 

FOREFATHERS 



By ESTHER SINGLETON 

WITH CRITICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF PLATES 
By RUSSELL STURCIS 



ILLUSTRATED 




COPYRIGHT, 1901, BY 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO. 

OCTOBER, 1 90 1 






CONTENTS 
Essex County Joiners and Cabinet-Makers 315-322 

Amount of home-made furniture, 315; names of cabinet- 
makers and joiners, 316-7; contents of shops, 317—320; Moll 
Pitcher's table, 321. 

Sewall Short's Stock ..... 322 

The House of the Seven Gables . . 325—328 

Furniture Imported and Made to Order . 329 
Judge Sewall's Orders .... 330—332 
Sir William Pepperell .... 332-334 

Extract from letter, 332; carved oak chairs, 332—3; home of 
Elizabeth Sparhawk, 334. 

Connecticut Furniture .... 334—340 
Old styles, 334—5; changes in chairs, 335; woods used, 336—7; 
styles of chairs, 337-9. 

Rhode Island Furniture .... 340-344 

Estates, 340-1 ! brass-ware, 341— 2; the high and low case of 
drawers, 34 z- 3. 

Boston Homes {i 700-1 720) ... 344-371 

Katharine Eyre, 346; tables and chairs, 347; John Mico, 
350—2; the bulFet, 352-4; stoves and grates, 355; the man- 
telpiece, 356; needlework, 357—8; mirrors and picture- 
frames, 358-61; tea-tables and china, 361-4; black chairs, 
365; case of drawers, 366-8; japanned ware, 368; china or- 
naments, 368 i bureau, 369 i chest of drawers, ^70. 



206526 



CONTENTS 



Boston Homes (1720-1770) . . . 372—388 

Captain William Taylor, 372-3; Thomas Hancoclc, 374-7; 
Mrs. Maiy Blair, 378-80; Peter Kaneuil, 380-5; Nathaniel 
R<^crB, 387-8. 



Cards and Card-Tables 

Musical Instruments 



389 

• 389-390 

Boston Cabinet-Makers .... 390—400 
Immigrants, 390; stocks on hand, 391-4; timbers, 395-7; 
mounts, 399. 



g-- 





immi List of Illustrations 

WITH CRITICAL NOTES ON MANY OF 
THE PLATES BY RUSSELL STURCIS 



Six-Legged High Case of Drawers 



Frontispiece 

T)ll-boy ia wtuch the ehirf ittnetioii ii the loniewliit ricb Tni«r of the drawer fimm. 
The very uautul dcntn of the lii legi and the odd itnining pUca between them majr aln 
be nodced. 

The \Rigt Alt drawer forming [he lovrennoiC piit of the upper hidf of thii CaU-bojr can 
€al]F be opened by prenure Iroin below, or by talcing out one cf the other dcawen, uo- 
doubtedlf the large one immRliately aboTc it. Thii ii what bdiei to-day call the "iljpper 
drawer," but it ii another foim of "lecrel drawer," which dnwen, indeed, are nl- 
dom much more aectet than thit one. They •erre ai nothing more unuiually lecure 
than merely lo baffle ordinary curioaity. Some nich taU-boyi hare a large and ahallow 
drawer in the cornice, the inouldingi of which put through the drawet-^nt IlKlf, and 
•uch dnwen are eicellent fcr papen — fijr a map, a print or two, for anything, in ihort, 
that la better left flat without being folded. 

A certain weU-koown profenor of Yale College — for he did not Sn to lee and to uee 
the title Yale UniTenity, howciei much the thing iaelf may hare eiisted in hit time — 
tnHle ibr hinuelf a writing lable, uieful and eren comely, by taking apart a CaU-boj not 
wholly unlike thai ihown in the frondipiece and having a panelled and cloth-covered top 
made [o nnch from one to the other of tbeK pam. That incident merely illuitratei 
the poaaUlity and the Aeijuency of nich changea in the arrangement of thoK valuable 
jicut of liiinicure. In ibit cate the upper part of the luppo^ed tall-boy may have been 
KiD Atf uic in a nuneiy while the lower part paned aa a bw-boy In a ipare room. R. 
Stnrpi. 

Kitchen in the Rooms of the Concord Anticiuar- 

lAN Society .... facing 315 

The room iself ihowi Utile of in ori^nal character except in the prden of the ceiling, the 
opeiung of the fireplace and the oven, of which the door and [he mouth of the aah-pit are 
■ceo on the left of tbe fireplace. There are a number of interetting utennh in the imm; 
■ lantern of pierced (beet metal, like one which ti to be leen in the iUuttradon page 3 {I, 
and a leather flre-bucket — 4xith of thoe hanging Irom the girder above { a good (|Hnning 
wheel at the left hand with more than the uiual relinenMnt in the way of moulded and 
turned work, and on the right, a winder for tkeuu of yam. The rocking-chair ii a 
piece of domeatic or at leaat of village manu&cture, and in heavy and nmple make attbrdt 
an intending contrail to the more delicately finiihed city made piecei. There are ibo 
two Teiy plain lettlei, but thcK perhape of later date aa they are made of aawed and plain 
boardi. Hardly greater relinement of liniihmatkithecase ofdnwenon the right in which 
■n attempt baa been made to imitate aome of the decorative effect) of the more elaborate low- 
boya of which there are teveni illutrated in this Part ; sec pages ;i6, ^i and othen. 
Hand-made tooli are ahown in abundance, hanging along the front of the mantel or Kt 
opoo the thelf i nch are the broadaie of which the handle hai been nwed olF, and the 
bammei wrought out of thin iron and fitted to a wooden Irame which ii teen further to [he 
right, aa well ai the admirable and intereiting ipring tong) of which there are two pain, 
tie fialu for meat, and the bundle of tkewen and the iteclyard on the noeme left, A 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PA6B 

hand^wrought pick-axe leant ugainst the baK of the ipinning wheeL There are candle- 
•tickt on the mantel-thelf, and one of them has a candle set upon it which it dearty too 
large for it, and thit utensil majr be thought to be, if not a rush-light holder (and it is 
scarcely long enough for that), then a holder for the ordinary dipped candle of the house- 
hold, which was generally much more slender than our modem ^ctory-made pieces. 
There is a tin horn — the dinner-horn of the poems and legends — standing on its bell with 
a tag or label hang^ig to its mouth-piece. A home-made boo^ack reminds us of the days 
whra there were worn what are now called long boots, things which vanished from 
the city life in western Europe fiffy years ago, which lingered in the eastern cities of 
America until 1870, and which hare now ** gone West ** or to the open country. R. 
Sturgis. 

Two Mahogany Tables. Small Round Table. 

Moll Pitcher's Table . . facing 318 

Oral tsble with adjustable top ; middle or close of eighteenth century. The veneering of 
the top is the chief decorative effect sought in this table, but the standard and the tripod of 
its base are that which interest the student the most and are to be compared with the simi- 
lar features in other tables on the same plate. The framing of the spreading branches of 
this tripod mto the central upright piece is unworkmanlike in that the strain is brought on 
the tenons, if there are any, sidewise; while the actual stress is generally taken up by the 
friction of the parts assisted by glue. This is, indeed, poor construction but admissible in 
pieces so small that without cost or labor the parts taking the strain can be enlarged pro- 
portionally; and it is this device which has been resorted to in the present case with great 
ingenuity and good taste. The necessity of making the spreading pieces very wide at their 
pcunts of juncdon with the standard has been the excuse for very graceful combinations of 
curvature. 

Table in all respects similar to the above except that it is somewhat more elaborate, 
having a moulded edge and more finely-worked standard. What was said about the con- 
struction of the above applies in all respects to this. The reader may note very slight dif- 
ferences of design in the profiling^ and champfering of the under side of these two tables — 
the points of junction between the spreading feet and the standard in the foUowing oflfeit a 
third treatment of the same detail. 

Table like those above, but with the top of solid woodwork with the whole surface 
lowered so as to leave a permanent moulding worked out of the solid around the edge and 
having a tripod base carved with some elaboration. The fency for a rim annmd the edge 
of a bible was very strong in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and lasted a long 
time. The absence of the device in the nineteenth century can hardly be explained except 
by the rapid abandonment of working in the solid wood. Every cabinet-maker would per- 
cove the feebleness of a pkmted molding carried around curves — such a thing would hardly 
meet the requirements of even the most reckless workmen. Perhaps the general demand 
for tiHeclorhs of decorative intent may have had to do vnth the abandonment of this very 
useful feature. 

The carving is of the formal tort and adds nothing to our already gained knowledge of 
tuch work. 

What b noticeable, however, is the slight differences which, in these three tripod 
standards, give variety of design. It b in this way that all the fine designing of this world, 
at least as applied to the simple objects of daily life, has been achieved. The artist is 
tatisfied to take a vrell-known type and then to treat it, in detail, according to his own 
lights. 

Round table like in most respects to that on page 3 79 and shown from another point of 
view, that b, with the hinged joints of the leaves plainly visible and the resulting clumsy 
look of the four legs fully revealed. A table seen in thb way b a dislocated-looking 
thing and requires its conceding cloth. R. Sturgb. 

Leather Chairs and Bellows . . . .318 

These are interesting examples of native workmanship of the early eighteenth century, 
having been made by the Rev. Theophilus Pickering in 1 724. Thb model had already 
been in use abroad for many yean. It occurs in pictures by contemporary artists. £. S. 

Old Green Painted and Rush-Bottom Chair . 321 

Thb b a somewhat unusual variety of the four-back chair. It was probably mtended for 
wibvalid. £• $. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGI 

Gilt Mirror and Mahogany DreoSing-Table, 

FACING 322 

Dressing-Table with Drawers, and Japanned 

Dressing-Glass . . . facing 326 

Low-boy of a little more variety of design than is shown on page 364. The original 
scheme probably included the further adornment in the shape of two turned pendants of 
some kind projecting downward, one on each side of the middle drawer (see page 343 ). In 
this piece, as in that on page 367, the good ancient custom of drawers with fronts pro- 
jecting beyond and lapping over the divisions between the drawer-spaces is maintained. 
The handles are apparently original, and are of somewhat unusual merit ; they are at least 
more massive than is customary. 

The dressing-glass, with its standard and drawers to hold toilet articles, has been lacquered 
in partial imitation of Japanese work, and this fact would seem to connect it with the Neth- 
erlands — it can hardly be an English piece. It appears that the basement or lowermost 
member of this piece is inlaid, and if this is so the piece is almost certainly Dutch. R. 
Sturgis. 

Mahogany Field-Bed ...... 327 

A good four-poster bedstead of about l8io. It is assumed that they will never come in 
again, the four-post bedsteads, because the houses of the future will be warmed and closed, 
and the curtains will not be asked for ; and yet one who loves ^esh air has an even 
more lively current from his open windows the warmer his room is with the heat of a fire. 
What then do we of the twentieth century put between our sleeping-place and the open 
windows P A folding screen, usually Japanese because that is cheaper, or of stamped and 
coloured leather, or even of highly-wrought cabinet work with paintings in Vemis Martin 
if we are millionaires. Is it now certain that we have done vnsely ? Is there not some- 
thing to be said for the bed-curtains ? We are not obUged to draw them all four and shut 
CNUselves up as our ancestors did in a nearly air-tight box with only 1 80 cubic feet of air for 
perhaps two pair of lungs. 

The four high posts might be accommodated to the much lower frame of the modem 
bedstead, with its broad rails intended to contain and conceal the thick spring mattress of 
the day. The differendadon brought about by this total change in the proportions of your 
post would be an attractive thing to work over and to work out. Four such posts carry- 
ing four rails with a head-board above one of them might then have a tester of any, even 
the most magnificent textile fiibric, or of embossed and gilded leather, and the curtain 
might hang on one side, or on one side and the foot — ^fi^r a greater or a less part of the 
space turned toward the draft of outer air. Enough said — let the next femily taking new 
quarters, if those quarters are not too utterly inadequate as to space, consider the question 
whether a four-post bedstead would not be a glorious revival in the form suggested above. 

The dimity valance of the tester is deUghtful: and still more attractive would be the 
counterpane, if we could make out the needlework which adorns it« R. Sturg^. 

Mahogany Low Case of Drawers and Mahog- 
any Looking-Glass . . . . -331 

A low-boy of considerable elegance elaborately carved on the legs and in the sheU-pattem 
recess in the middle, and with uniisually massive brass handles. The peculiar bulging front 
of the drawers will be found repeated in the taU-boys of the time and in such desks and 
bookcases as on pages dicing 340 and 374. This epoch is about 1750. At that time 
there had already appeared in France the reaction against the somewhat extravagant shap- 
ing of the parts, in architecture and in furniture; a reaction which ended in what we 
know as the Style Louis Seixe, but it took time for such influences to cross the channel 
and a still longer time for them to pass the ocean from Bristol or Plymouth to Massachu- 
setts Bay. 

The very large and elaborate tall-boy, which is partly seen in this photograph, is evi- 
dently a piece of very great interest. R. Sturgis. 

Carved Oak Chairs ...... 333 

Two chairs carved in solid oak and probably of the closmg years of the seventeenth ccn- 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGB 

tnry. Their historical record does not seem to be traceable from so early a period, bat 
they have all the marks of English work of the time of James II. The cane backs are tm- 
doubtedly contemporaneous and are not the least precious part of this most interesting brace 
of chairs; the ieather-coyered seats are, of course, recent« R. Sturgis. 

Crown-back Chair . . . . . -337 

One chair, thought to be Dutch and probably of about 1725. The heavier bandy-legged 
form is generally associated with the Netherlands; the most interesting stretching-pieces 
are, ho¥rever, the attxactiYe feature in the chair now imder consideration; it is very unusual 
lo see so bold a treatment of that important part of the frame. The student of such things 
should note carefully the singular mdependence of the workman who has put his transvene 
piece as far forward as he could without incommoding the sitter, whose heeb would strike 
them if they were further advanced. This bit of designing has carried with it a singular 
lack of ordinary cheap synmietry; and the pieces are all the better for that. R. Sturgis. 

Low Case of Drawers or Dressing-Table (Dark 

Cherry) . . . . . . . 339 

Mahogany Desk .... facing 340 

A writing-desk similar in its distribution to that dicing page 376, but fkr more ehbonte. 
This is, indeed, one of the best designed pieces of the middle of the eighteenth century 
that one will be apt to see, and it is, fortunately, in perfect order. It is stated to be oif 
mahogany, and if entirely made of that wood is a rare specimen. R. Sturgb. 

Mahogany Table and Chair . . . , 341 

Table with dropping leaves which, when open, are supported by two of the four legs. T^ 
Uci filing 318 and on page 379 will be found to offer alternative forms of the same gen- 
eral plan. The people of the eighteenth century, less harassed than their successors by 
carpets covering the whole floor or by rugs always in the way, found little difficulty in 
revobring the whole of one-quarter part, leg and all, of their table frame. It was curious 
to see how with the appearance of carpeting in common use to cover the previously naked 
floocs this strenuous and satts^ctory plan was abandoned for the feeble bracket no deeper 
than the top rail of the fbune and supported by inadequate hinges. R. Sturgis. 

Low Case of Drawers ..... 343 

A low-boy to be compared with those focing page 326 and on page 367, and equally with 
the fint of those showing some evidence of having served as part of a tall-boy. It is not 
asserted, however, that such pieces were never or even very seldom made separately. 
The records seem to fiul us, for the gossiping chat about such things which is common in 
our good old fomilies has seldom any basis beyond the narrator^s own childish experience. 
It has sometimes seemed possible that pieces of fomiture made for a special household would 
have the upper members of the taU-boys adjustable to one or more table-like lower parts. 

The use of the carved shell for the front of the lower drawer marks a distinct step for- 
ward in attempted adornment. The middle recess shown in those facing page 326, and on 
pages 331 and 343, is a far-away reminiscence of the knee-place in a writing-table, and 
has no practical excuse in the pieces of fomiture we are conudering beyond the possible 
convenience of the housevnfo who rits down to look at the contents of the lower drawen ; 
while, even for this purpose, the disCmce between the two pendants is insufficient. 

Thk piece is of unusually good proportion — an attractive piece of fomiture. R. Sturgb 

Leather Travelling Trunk . . facing 344 

Chest of drawers covered with leather and adorned with broad-headed nails. Such pieces 
are generally considered travelling chests, but this is extremely doubtful, as there is never 
found in connection with them any provision for easy transport. The Japanese cabinets 
identified as intended for the traveling equipage of a Daimio under the old regime were 
fitted ¥rith the most ingenious and practically useful appliances in delicate wrought iron for 
the insertion of a long bearing-pole, by means of which it could be carried as a palku is 
carried, on the shoulden of men. The modem trunk with drawers is never too heavy to 
be tossed upon the shoulders of the stout porter, nor too bulky for the baggage-car or tht 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGB 

forward deck of a steamboat. The present piece, however, if it is as it appears, three feet 
high, four feet four inches long and eighteen inches deep, would be a most formidable chat- 
tel for the pack-horse or even the horse-Utter or even the carrier*s van. 

Reasons are [pven in previous notes to illustrations for supposing that this decoration 
hj means of leather ( which might be bright-colored and of a glossy surface, and ^ith brass 
nails) was a fiivourite alternative for veneer and varnish and for polychromy. In fiKt, 
It was in a sense a revival or survival of that polychromatic painting which we have found to 
exist not infrequently in the earlier years of the seventeenth century. These consideratioos, 
taken in connection vnth the extremely elaborate pierced metal-work scutcheons and the 
fiuitastical design produced by the nail-heads, seem to give to the leather covering decorative 
rather than a utilitarian purpose. The heavy handles at the end are evidently a nine- 
teenth-ccntuxy addition. R. Sturgis. 

Part of a Six-Legged High Case of Drawers . 345 
Rush-Bottom Chair ...... 348 

The chief interest in this chair lies in the fact that it manifestly bebngs to the transitional 
period between the seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century styles. It has an odd com- 
bination of turned legs and rail together with the feet that so often appear on the carved- 
oak cane chairs, while the pierced splat and bowed top-bar belong to the new 
school. £. S. 

Hall in the Warner House . . . • 351 

Hall of a house at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in which are seen two most interesting 
half-round tables of a type not often seen even in fine collections of eighteenth-century fur- 
niture. The kmtem of pierced thin metal with added ornaments probably soldered to the 
suifiice; and with a movable bottom-piece which pulls out and down enabling the light to 
be cared for without disturbing the lantern itself — this is even more interesting because so 
nearly unique. People fifty years old will sometimes remember the pierced tin lanterns of 
their childhood by which the farmer Ughted himself in the stable, the light shining^through 
perforations, small and not clean cut, having indeed the pardy separated pieces of tin turned 
inward, thus preventing the wind, even of a sharp storm, from blowing out the candle. Ex- 
quisite Japanese pieces of the same device on the same plan are procurable, but the idea b 
dways the same, that as glass is dear, or if not dear is ouily breakable, the solid metal itself 
elaborately pierced ijour is the best substance for a working lantern. 

The mysterious eflect in the right-hand lower comer is produced by the plain top of a 
heavy table which conceals the bwer part of the door and even of the pilaster on the right 
side of the wooden archway. R. Sturgis. 

"Beaufait'* . . . . . facing 352 

A comer cupboard like that on page 354 and the larger one page 363. It is not a piece 
of furniture, but a part of the decorative interior fitting of a sitting-room or dining-room ; 
a niche, and finished as a niche with a semi-dome carved into a scalloped shell for its roof, 
and shdves following the curve of the back. R. Sturgis. 

"BOUFET** FROM THE BaRTON HoMESTEAD, WOR- 
CESTER ....... 354 

This piece, like the last named, is architecturally a niche having for plan a quarter circle 
or thereabout, and for its roof a shell-carved semi-dome. R. Sturgu. 

Kitchen in the Rooms of the Concord Antiquar- 
ian Society .... facing 354 

Thtt plate shows that side of the Concord kitchen which is opposite the fireplace shown 
in page 315. There are admirable coppers on the uppermost shelf of the dresser and long 
rows of pewter plates below as well as tin coffee-pots of the simplest village manufacture, 
and noovable cofFee-mills. There b a salt and spice-box for the bread-maiker and for the 
cook generally hung between the dresser and the door-piece. That which u most attrac- 
tive in the photograph is, however, the table set with iti array of wooden plates and 



XI 



PACK 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

wooden diih, wooden spoons and what is probably a pewter tankard. These wooden plates 
are not trenchers in the strict sense of the word. The old English trencher was entirely 
flat with no standing rim at all or a rim a quarter of an inch wide and rising an eighth dT 
an inch above the perfectly flat uniform sur^ce. Those on this table seem to be an at- 
tempt to hew and turn, out of solid wood, plates which should resemble the pewter plates of 
the earlier time, or the ** Delft '* plates of the eighteenth century. The table itself is an 
interesting one with a tripod and standard of very good form and design, which may be 
compofcd with those shown at page 318. R. Sturgis. 

Bedroom in Hancock-Clarke House facing 358 

The eicellent bedstead shown in this room may be compared with the one illustrated on page 
327. The valance in this case is very elaborate ; probably of silk fltted with a broad pas- 
sementerie. A comparison of the bedposts with their turning and carving as seen in the 
four examples, page 327, page 371, and page 383, and the present one afTords an almost 
adequate study of the elaborate furniture of the years between 1780 and 18 10. In the 
fireplace of this room there are some very interesting andirons — for this, rather than fire- 
dogs, was what our New England ancestors called these utensils. R. Sturgis. 

Two Clocks ..... facing 360 

The tall dock is a beautiful example of the ornate japanned work of the eighteenth cen- 
tuiy. The other is a specimen of the plaui native work made for the poorer classes. It 
was made in 1767 by Richard Manning of Ipswich. £. S. 

Mahogany and Gilt Mirror .... 360 

Thr is one of a pair of mirrors of medium size. It is richly carved with drapery and 
floral forms and the gilding produces a very rich effect. E. S. 

Buffet ........ 363 

Comer cupboard: but not in the sense of a piece of furniture, for this is a piece of the in- 
terior fittings of an old house with just such " trim ** as the neighboring door-pieces would 
have displayed. It is, therefore, hardly to be judged as a separate design. It once formed 
part of an interesting room with fitting corresponding semi-architectural members in all its 
parts. See the illustrations on page 354 and fiicing page 352. R. Sturgis. 

Rush-Bottom Corner Chair .... 364 

This comer chair is early, probably seventeenth century, and a most interesting piece of 
turning, the work evidently of a man who cared for his details and their proportions. The 
onty vagary that he has allowed to creep in b seen in the monstrous moldings on the croo- 
bars below the seat; and these are so discrepant that one ventures to believe them taken 
firom another piece. R. Sturgis. 

Dressing-Table ...... 366 

Carved and Gilt Looking-Glass and a Dressing- 

Table . . . . . .- . 367 

Low-boy or, more probably, lower part of a tall-boy, with a table-top of more recent date 
applied to it. The grounds for this suggestion are in the apparent lack of an adequate fin- 
iiJi and of sufiicient weight of wood above the uppermost drawers. If this piece be com- 
pared with the more highly finished piece shown facing page 326 the difference b at once 
evident, for the latter has all the appearance of having been planned as it is shown in the 
photograph. The drop-handles of this piece and the scutcheons are all, undoubtedly, of 
the original epoch, but they are not of special interest in design or workmanship. 

The mirror han^ng on the wall above is not of the same epoch. The frame would seem 
to be of about 1825. The curious discs below it are nothing but the ends of the metal 
pint iecured to an iron band as seen, and used to support the firame. R. Sturgis. 



xu 



/ 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Mahogany Dumbwaiter and Square Table 

FACING 368 

The tripods and itandards of these two pieces are similar in design, though apparently not 
made to match as if forming part of a single set. These tripod feet should be compared 
with those illustrated in the plate opposite page 318. The term dumbwaiter is the only 
one which we seem to have in the language of decorative art for such pieces as this ; 
although the same term appUes to the much lower and broader or longer piece with casters, 
which can be run into any part of the room, set beside the hostess or the host, or used as 
a carving table ; and also appUed to the modem lift when utilized for the purposes of the 
dining-room and serving-room. The present piece is rather one for the display of glass or 
silver intended for use at the dinner then in progress and therefore less a dumb waiter in 
the proper sense than an adjunct of the buffet or sideboard. R. Sturgis. 

Governor John Wentworth's Desk and Bookcase 369 

This piece is to be compared with the one shown in the illustration opposite page 374. 
The flat panels of the doors here are more likely to have been a part of the ori^nal design 
than the raised panels of that last named piece, but in either case the front might be filled 
with glass or vrith solid wood panelling without other change in the design. The owner 
of such a piece would sometimes line the glass with curtains to hide the interior ; thin 
green silk was the orthodox material for this purpose, and there are many examples still in 
existence. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Liquor-Case . . . facing 370 

Liquor case Mrith eight square bottles elaborately engraved by the wheel and with cut-glass 
stoppers. The middle of the case is occupied by a pile of tumblers. It is a pity that we 
have not one of these decanters separate that the decoration of its body might be viuble. R. 
Sturgu. 

Ezra Ripley's Writing-Chair . . facing 370 

A Windsor chair fitted with reading-stand and arranged especially for a near-sighted man 
or for one who, being very tall, desired not to bend over his work. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Chest-upon-Chest of Drawers . . 371 

An admirable tall-boy to which the name given in the title especially applies. That name 
may be thought to be a free translation of the French hahut i deux corps. The piece b 
indeed two chests of drawers, or, as we should say to-day, bureaus, set one upon the other. 
The decoration by means of swelling and receding rounds of the whole front, drawers, 
divisions, base, surbase and all, is a refined example of the same system of adornment 
which u less successfully carried out in the illustration opposite page 374. The brass 
handles and scutcheons seem to be original ; the whole piece u of imusual richness and im- 
portance. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Bedstead .... facing 372 

Four-post bedstead vrith permanent hangings such as served as lambrequins, in a sense, cov- 
ering the edges of the thinner curtains which could be drawn to and away and preventing 
the entrance of draughts at the comers. The hangings in question seem to be Dutch 
material of about 1 740. It is very unusual to see the bedposts terminating below with 
copies of the bandy legs of tables with claw feet and balls. It is probable that the whole 
piece is Dutch, and of a date not far removed from that above mentioned. 

There is hanging on the back of the interesting chair on the right a great caleche of a 
kind somewhat different from the one seen facing page 155. On the left is what must 
be a most interesting chest of drawers with secretary. There is a good rag-carpet rug 
at the foot of the bed. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Secretary and Bookcase . facing 374 

Chest of drawers with vrriting-desk and bookcase. An unusually elaborate piece of furni- 
ture showing all the curious vagaries of design which mark the middle of the eighteenth 

xm 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAOI 

century in England and the Netherlands. The derice of nuxlifying the otherwise flat front 
of a pile of dxawers to that it ihall have prcjecdona and receiMS like the front of an archi- 
tectural pavilion is one which occurs to a designer in great need of a novelty. The natu- 
ral work of the joiner who is trying to make useful furniture does not lead him into such 
devices : they are the resource of cabinet-makers trying to stimulate reluctant purchasers of 
furniture by the prospect of something altogether unexamined. Another step is taken 
when, as in the present case, the two projections and the recess are terminated at the top 
ynth convexly and concavely rounded members which replace the older and more obvious 
pbn of carrying these modulations through the shelf or taible-top which terminates the fnle 
of drawers. In the present case still another step has been taken, and the swellings and 
unkings, though not continuous, are taken up again and repeated, curve by curve, in the 
sloping ftont of the desk — ^that hinged fbp which, when opened, forms the writing-shelf. 

As to the cupboard or bookcase above, .it is more than likely that the original filling of 
the doors was glass with light sash bars. So the finish to this upper port would be rkh and 
well imagined for a piece of that not very tasteful epoch. R. Sturgb. 

James Bowdoin's Desk . . . facing 376 

Chest of drawers with writing-desk attachment, a characterisdc specimen of a well-known 
Qrpe. Such a piece,— called secretary, scrutmr, and by various other names, — b the obvi- 
ous result of the slight literary needs of a farmer or cidzen whose house space was moie- 
ofver limited, hardly allowing him to use three feet by four feet of floor-room for a wridng- 
table which would not be used every day. The feet that these pieces were nearly always 
of what seems to us now an impossible height, from the floor to the writing-shelf, nukes 
this explanation the more obvious. What kind of high stools the original owner sat upon, 
or whether he stood at his letter-wridng, as he might well have stood while entering items 
in his expense-book, fkimly history has not made clear. We have such pieces nowadays 
in our hmnes, and reduce them to submisuon to modem requirements by taking off the 
high fiset; though even then they demand a library chair of sometimes unusual hdght. 
R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Sideboard ...... 377 

Table with Falling Leaves .... 379 

A round tahlt fdanned and built like the one on page 341. In each of these tables the 
extremely graceful and restrained curves of the legi are worthy of notice. Even the most 
ardent advocate of rtaSkm in fomiture, of an insistence upon the grain of the wood as be- 
ing its essential strength, will be satisfied with the legs of 341, and if he were to diqnite 
t'u>se of 379 as bdng a little too much carved away and leaving a part of the grain in a 
foeble exposure, a confrontation of his criticism with the table itself would probably con- 
vince him that iron-hard wood and its close, almost homogeneous structure, would make 
such ciHnment uncalled for. 

It cannot be thought, however, that the resulting form was graceful in these strong and 
convenient tables of the eighteenth century. If one looked at them from a distant part 
of the room, especially if seated at the time, he would see too much of the machinery and 
not enough of the design of the piece of furniture. In fact, the design was almost wholly 
concaved vnth respect to the closed table standing against the walL Then it was dignified 
and seemly enough, and we must imagine these tables as opened out only when the im- 
mediate demands of service had to be complied with; and as being then very commonly 
covered vrith white cloths. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Bedstead WITH Gilt Ornaments . 383 

This, the fourth high post bedstead given m this Part b the richest of all, not merely be- 
cause of the gilded appliques on the corners of the tester, the basket of doves in the middle of 
the firont or foot side and the painting which is carried along each side of the same tester, not 
even these with the addition of the gilded caps which cover the bed screws and show below, 
but because of the very elaborate and also judicious and well-combined reeding, moulding 
and carving of the wooden posts themselves. It b noticeable that only the posts of the 
foot are invested with any decoration at all, those of the head bemg perfectly plain square 
tapering shafb. This is one of the handsomest as well as one of the richest four-post bed- 
steads to be found. The possibility that the pamted frieza are not of exactly the nme 

a? 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGI 

epoch at the canred wood must be kept in mind, but does not injure the effect of the piece. 
In this room there is a most interesting washstand of a date earlier than that of the bed- 
stead ; compare pieces shown in Part III. Equally early is the high-back chair seen 
against the door at the right, while the chair with the lower back and the scu^tured panel 
is of approximately the same date as the bedstead or a little earlier. There is a good mantel 
clock in the room, a piece when of this merit and of this style, rarer than even the tall 
clocks built for stairway or kitchen. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Case of Drawers . . facing 384 
Mahogany Card Table . . . facing 384 

This is a solid and handsome table. It will be noticed that it has five legs, one of which 
pulls out to support the flap. Thb is evidently not a very unusual fieature since an identi- 
cal specimen appears on page 309. £. S. 

Chair used by John Adams .... 385 

This is said to have been used by John Adams and is, therefore, interesting as showing how 
long the old fi»hions survived in some of the New England homes. The model, of course, 
belongs to the seventeenth century and has already been fully discussed. Mr. Adams was 
a pronounced enemy to £uhion and luxury. £. S. 

Harpsichord ..... facing 386 

Harpttchord or spinet. It is urged elsewhere that great opportunities seemed offered the 
designer of such pieces, those opportunities being all lost when the much more ponderous 
piano came in with its generally four-square case and heavy legs. It is still the ideal way 
of dedgning a piano to treat its box — that which contains the heavy string-board and which 
b opened up by the key-board — to treat that by itself and to set it upon a supporting frame 
of corresponding design indeed, but not lost in the one general concepdon. It makes a 
practised designer envious to see what opportunities for making a pretty and deUcate piece 
of furniture were held by the makers of the eighteenth century clavichords. R. Sturgis. 

Six-Legged High Case of Drawers . facing 390 

A taU-boy of design not unlike that shown in the frontispiece, with the peculiarity that the 
vertical sides are nearly continuous, as indeed are those of that on page 397. A far more 
general custom is to have the upper part much narrower and less deep than the table-like 
lower member and this distribution is seen in the frontispiece. The use of very rich 
veneer is so unusual in these pieces that one is tempted to believe it an addition of later times, 
at least in that on page 390, and this might even be held as probable were the drawer fronts 
onty so adorned. The finishing of the lower part around and beyond the door fronts makes 
the above-mentioned theory less tenable. The stnuning-piece parted in the middle perhaps 
to allow of the pushing into the space within of a jar or two— Chinese or Delft covered 
vases, is also posubly a recent change. The reader will notice in the fipontispiece the curi- 
ous way in which the straining-piece is bowed in the middle, and it is probable that a 
similar arrangement existed m the one we are now considering. R. Sturgis. 

Corner Chair ...... 393 

This chair is painted white, and has a woven mat bottom. It is a phin piece, of native 
manu£icture. It should be compared with another comer chair on page 364, of very 
much earlier style. £. S. 

Settee from the Brattle Street Church, 

Boston . 394 

The fret-work in the back is indicative of the Chippendale school, about the middle of the 
century. The heavy and ungraceful top curved bar, however, is scarcely one of which 
Chippendale would have approved. £. S. 

Cherry Chest of Drawers .... 395 

In this piece may be seen the development of the old-fashioned chest of drawers which led 



XV 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

^ncdjtD the mora recent " baRan." The KnnblepUn iiidopled of putting the bottom 
drawer higb eoough iboTe (he floor to be uceoible without too painfiil itoaping, while the 
top dnwen nay he thought to be juic ai high u the owner*! chin, lo that she could look 
into them without effbtt. The brge trjuire railed luc&e with the radiating and wiriii| 
flute* tnaj be inoclieT dnwet oi it nuf be tlie door to a tquan compartment with little 
ihelvcip Furniture nude during the tut quarter of the nineteenth century for priratc pcr- 
■oni who gaTC the order direct to their trchilcct or deconCor hai alio been nude on thii 
plan, and indeed there cio be no better contriTaocc, u i fiece ai high ai thii tika up no 
more room on the floor than a bureau of three ih^w drawen. The requirement wiU 
then eiin, however, of a teparate dreaing table with mimn, but thii it ilwlf aa idraik- 
lage, ai m thii way the mirror may be brought much oarer to the floor. R. Sturgii. 

Corner Chair owned by Daniel Bliss (1756) 
AND Two Chairs made by Joseph Hos- 
MER (Cabinet-makers) .... 396 

AD three of thcK are of natiie mann&cture. The three turned leg! of the comet chair 
are nnumally quaint in doign. Thii chair k lald to hate been in exateoce in 1756. The 
other two diun aln belong to the Chippendale period, and ihow deaigni that frequenil)' 
accw. E. S. 

Maple Chest-upon-Chest of Drawers . . 397 

Talt-bof of Tcry elaborate dengn and make, a piece which wai eipennTe in Iti time and m 
which more thoufhc wai firen than ii onial with piece* of nich ureU-kaowa type — piece* 
ID wlucb tiidjiioo cotmted for almoK ererything and noTclty of deogn had but a nnaU 
pnt to r^. R. Snu|ii, 




THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

Part V 




THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

PART V, 

New England from 1700 to 1775 

IMPORTED AND HOME-MADE PIECES OF THE 

EIGHTEENTH CENTURY '^ 

J T may be confidently asserted that the amount 
of wooden furniture imported into New 

I] England during the eighteenth century 
h formed a very small proportion of what was 
used there. English wares, including hard- 
ware and upholsterers' goods came in on 
every ship and were duly advertised in the local papers, but 
on examining the Salem papers prior to the Revolution we 
scarcely ever come across an announcement of wooden fur- 
niture brought in by the latest arrivals. The fact is that 
New England was not only self-supporting in the province 
of wooden ware, but was able to export a considerable 
quantity of that class of goods to other colonies. Her join- . 
ers and cabinet-makers were numerous and expert, and con- 
sequently New England furniture found a ready sale in the 




THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

South. Edward Drinker, Jr., went from Philadelphia to 
Boston before 1700 to learn the craft of cabinet-making. 
Enterprising workmen from Boston and other towns some- 
times transferred their energies to other fields where com- 
petition was not so keen. One of those who went to New 
York has already been cited, and in the South Carolina Ga-- 
zette, November 2, 1734, we find an advertisement by 
another : 

" This is to give notice that Charles Warham, Joiner, 
late from Boston, N. England ; maketh all sorts of Tables, 
Chests, Chest of Drawers, Desks, Book-cases, &c. Also 
coffins of the newest fashion, never as yet made in Charles- 
town.'* 

Some idea of the number of men engaged in this branch 
of industry in New England may be gained from the rec- 
ords of Salem, which embrace the towns of the seaboard of 
Massachusetts to the North of Boston. The numerous 
housewrights are not included in this list; but it must be 
remembered that they also made a great deal of the com- 
mon kinds of furniture, such as tables, chairs, forms and 
cradles. In Lynn, we find John Davis, 1703; Thomas 
Burrage, 171 8; his son, Thomas, 1751; and Timothy 
Howard, 1 764. These were joiners. Jonathan Johnson 
was a chair-maker there and died in 1741. The joiners of 
Ipswich mentioned are Thomas Dennis, 1703; his son, 
Thomas, 1706; John Brown, 1746; and William Cald- 
well, 1759. Another John Brown, 1758, was a turner 
there, and Bemsley Wells, a cabinet-maker. Marblehead's 
joiners were Samuel Goodwin, 1729; Matthew Sever ett, 
1745; Samuel Striker and Michael Bowden, 1762; Joseph 
Potter, 1768; Francis Cook, 1772; and Job Trask, 1780. 
Thomas Laskey, 1761, and Benjamin Laskey, 1778, were 

316 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

chair-makers. Joiners of Salem were James Symond, 1 7 1 4 ; 
Jos. Allen, 1740; John Lander, 1757; Deacon Miles 
Ward and Joseph Gavet, 1765; Joseph Symonds, 1769; 
and Jno. Young, 1773. Lemmon Beadle, a carver, 171 7; 
and Benjamin Gray, a chair-maker, 1761, also lived there. 
Newbury, or Newburyport, sheltered Francis Halliday, 
1767; Jeremiah Pearson and Spindelow Morrison, 1768; 
Parker Titcomb, 1772; Samuel Long, 1774; and Moses 
Bay ley, 1778. Besides these joiners, there were Daniel 
Harris, 1752, John Harris, 1767, and Sewall Short, 1773, 
cabinet-makers; and Oliver Moody, 1775, and his son, 
Oliver, 1776, chair-makers. Beverley had John Corning, 
1734, turner; Joshua Bisson, 1750, and Benjamin Jones, 
1776, joiners. Other joiners were Joseph Ames, Haver- 
hill, 1 74 1 ; Benjamin Thurston, Bradford, 1 746 ; John 
Tyler, Gloucester, 1767 ; Ebenezer Osgood, 1768 ; William 
Rea, Wenham, 1771 ; and David Currier, Salisbury, 1778; 
Jonathan Goodhue, Gloucester, 1770, and Moses Dodge, 
Manchester, 1 776, were cabinet-makers : and Thomas Cross, 
Bradford, 1772, a chair-maker. 

. The majority of the above were men of small means 
whose principal stock in trade consisted of tools, timber 
and boards ; and their own furniture was usually very sim- 
ple. Samuel Goodwin, ^1634 ; John Corning, ^1381 ; 
Benjamin Thurston, ^1121 ; Parker Titcomb, ^i 394 ; and 
Job Trask were exceptionally wealthy. By a scrutiny of 
the cabinet-ware found in the shops, we can gain sure knowl- 
edge of what kind of furniture was being made for the 
average householder at the time the inventory was taken, 
and this renders this class of inventory more valuable than 
any other for our purpose. Samuel Goodwin's furniture 
(1729) shows the strange mixture of styles and materials 

317 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




characteristic of the transitional period between carved oak 
and mahogany. His thirty-one chairs were cane, leather, 
Turkey-work, matted-bottom, and carved-back ; and his 
tables were of maple, black walnut and white-wood. His 
shop gave no evidence of work. 

John Corning was evidently still at business as a turner 
when he died in 1734. In his shop were eleven two- 
backed new chairs; nine ditto without bottoms ; rungs and 

J.8 




MAHOGANY TABLE 

O-iL-HrJ by Silai Diant, natv ia ibr raami at iht Cea- 
Httiical HimrUal Stdtty, HartfarJ. iei fagejdl. 

SMALL ROUND TABLE 

Owned by Nathaniel Sihbee in Salem, Kotu by Mri. 
BJ'ward C PiekertHg, Observatary, Cam- 
bridge, Mail. See fagt j6i. 



MAHOGANY TABLE 

OtvneJ by Ijiii Orne absnt ijjo, nfui in the Eiiex 
Inilitute, Salem, Mall See fage j6i. 



MOLL PITCHER'S TAULE 

VI in I he Eiiex InmlHle, Salem Sti page J3l. 



• .• 



• • 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

backs for chairs; stocks and spokes for spinning-wheels; 
"other stuff prepared in the shop;*' a frame for an oval 
table ; and thirty-six bundles of flags for chairs. The chair 
frames were probably turned out of poplar, as half a cord 
of that wood, valued at ten shillings, is all the timber in 
stock. This furniture was of the cheapest kind, since it 
totalled only ^4-3-0. Matthew Severett (^422; 1745) 
had in his shop 1 181 ft. of pine boards, 604 ft. of maple, 
204 ft. of black walnut, and 173 ft. of oak joist. The 
latter was the cheapest, costing three-sevenths of a penny 
per foot. The maple was very slightly cheaper than the 
pine, the prices being three-fifths and two-thirds of a penny 
per foot respectively. The walnut was by far the most 
valuable, being worth three-and-one-half pence per foot. 
In Benjamin Thurston's shop (1746) there was only "ma- 
ple board and stuff" valued at ten shillings. Daniel Harris 
(^289; 1752) had a more varied, though still limited, 
assortment of cabinet-ware than any of the above. His 
twenty-four chairs, thirty-two shillings, and thirty-four tables, 
^3-1-4, were common enough; but seven desks, two tables, 
^20-13-4, evidently belonged to the superior grade of fur- 
niture. Board, plank and joist came to jC^-i'S- Benjamin 
Gray (;;^38 1 ; 1 76 1 ) had a small stock of thirty-eight chairs 
in his chair-making business: ten of these were "great" 
chairs, ranging in price from eight to four shillings each. 
The other chairs cost from two shillings to thirteen pence 
each. These also must therefore have been of simple con- 
struction. 

Deacon Miles Ward (^^312; 1765) had even cheaper 
chairs in his house, nine of them being worth only eight 
pence each. His fellow townsman Joseph Gavet (^^299 ; 
1765) owned a maple desk, ;^ 1-4-0 ; a maple case of draw- 

3»9 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ers, ;^2-8-o; low case of drawers, j[i ; and high case of 
drawers, ^1-4-0. His shop contained maple, oak, pine, 
walnut and a little mahogany timber. John Harris (^262; 
1767) had some frames for tables and black walnut and 
maple boards in his shop. Samuel Stryker's goods {j[y4 ; 
1762) were principally of maple. Three tables of that 
timber were worth twenty-four, sixteen, and six shillings 
respectively. His chairs were of a slightly better class than 
the average joiner's, costing from three shillings to sixteen 
pence each. He had a desk at j[2 ; another, unfinished, 
was valued at eight, and an unfinished chair at four shil- 
lings. Joseph Symonds (^^362; 1769) had a maple desk, 
^ I - 1 0-0, and a maple case of drawers ; a cherry-tree desk, 
^2-10-0; and some black and "joiner's" chairs from four 
shillings to one shilling each. One 4-ft. table cost sixteen 
shillings; a 3-ft. ditto, eight shillings; a jj^-ft. maple 
ditto, twelve shillings ; a 3-ft. frame with leaves not hung, 
seven shillings; a breakfast ditto, two shillings; and a toi- 
lette-table, only sixpence. The timber in the shop was 
maple, black walnut, cherry and mahogany. The walnut 
was worth eight pence, the cherry, one and two-thirds 
pence, and the mahogany, eighteen pence per foot. Jo- 
nathan Goodhue (^202; 1770) left "sundry joiner's work 
unfinished, £1 i-i 1-9/* Francis Cook (^i 26 ; 1772) left 
only six shillings' worth of walnut and pine board. 

The leather chairs on page 318 were made in 1724 
by the Rev. Theophilus Pickering of Salem. The bellows 
was also made by him, and bear that date in brass nails with 
his initials. These pieces are owned by Mr. John Picker- 
ing in Salem, Mass. The chair on page 321 is a four- 
back chair with rush bottom. It is painted green, and is 
supplied with castors. This belonged to the Lincoln family, 

310 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



and is now in the rooms of the American 
Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. 

- The furniture of most of the joiners and 
cabinet-makers was very scanty, and the 
prices already given show 
that the wares they made 
were intended for the 
great class of yeomen, 
artisans, and mariners. 
A specimen of the cheap 
joinery work of these 
men is shown in the 
lower right-hand corner 
of the plate facing page 
318. It is a roughly 
put together table with 
falling leaves, cabriole 
legs and hoof feet. It 
belonged originally to 
Moll Pitcher, the famous 
fortune-teller of Lynn. 
She was born in 1738 in 
Marblehead. Rich and 
poor consulted her in 
serious earnest, and few vessels sailed without obtaining her 
favourable augury. Her method was divination by tea. In 
1760, she was married to Robert Pitcher, and died in 
18 13, being buried in Lynn, where she had lived for 
many years. The picture to which reference has been 
made represents the table at which she sat when receiving 
her clients. 

Sewall Short {£'/<)6; 1773) was a Newburyport cabi- 




Ownctj by the Lincoln fkmily, now in the roamt of 
the American Antiquiriin Society, Wwcoler, Mia. 
See pige jao. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

net-maker who kept a more ambitious stock both in quan- 
tity and quality. His timber comprised 1429 ft. of pine, 
i860 maple, 276 black wabiut, 115 cedar, 1 045 red cedar, 
448 Spanish cedar, and 44 mahogany. He made high- 
priced ftirniture of the latest styles and most expensive ma- 
terials. At his death, the mahogany furniture in his work- 
shop was valued at high figures even in its incomplete state. 
The mahogany pieces specified as unfinished were as fol- 
lows: desk and bookcase, ^1^15; desk, ^6-15-0; bookcase, 
^4 ; plain ditto, ^3 ; plain desk, ^4 ; and stand table, 
fourteen shillings. The other unfinished work consisted of 
a cedar desk and bookcase, j[(>'^'0; large cedar desk, 
^^4-5-0; 2 common cedar ditto, ^^4-5-0; small maple 
ditto, sixteen shillings; black walnut table, five shillings; 
and "a quantity of stock partly wrought, ^1-4-0." Fin- 
ished work in stock included two 4-ft. mahogany tables, 
^4-16-0; two 3J^-ft. ditto, ^4; mahogany chamber 
table, ^^1-4-0; two 4-ft. Spanish cedar tables, ;;^3-io-o; 
and thirty chairs (kind not specified), ;;^3-i3-o. Four 
mahogany table frames, ;;^3-io-o ; and six cabin-stool frames 
completed the list of warehouse goods. 

Mr. Short's desks and bookcases evidently had brass 
mounts and glass doors, for he had in stock sixty brass 
handles, j;^ 1-5-0; forty-eight ditto, ^0-16-0; two sets of 
desk brasses, ^0-8-4 ; thirty escutcheons, ^^0-6-3 ; twenty- 
four ditto, ^0-4-0 ; and sundry old brasses, bolts and locks, 
j[0'S'0. The panes of glass in the doors were small, be- 
ing of the sizes commonly used in the windows and hall- 
lanterns of the day. Mr. Short's stock of glass comprised 
ninety-three squares 7x9, ;^ 1-3-3; ^^^ three hundred and 
seventy-six ditto ^xy, ^2-10-1. 

Glass was sold in standard sizes in New England as well 

311 




GILT MIRROR AND MAHOGANY DRESSING TABLE 

OomtdbjMrt. tTainivrigbt, HirtforJ, Conit Sti fagt 343. 



••■fc ^-. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

as New York. Abner Chase, advertises in the Essex Ga- 
zettCy May 28, 1771: "Bristol crown window glass, jx^^ 
6x8, 7x9, 8x10, 9x1 1, 9x12." Joiners were often glaziers 
also: Thomas Waldron of Marblehead (^^43; 1740) has 
"window frames, chairs and 30 squares of glass, ^12-2-0,*' 
among his joiner's ware. 

The only timber found in the shop of Oliver Moody, 
Jr. (;^i68; 1776), was 82 ft. of poplar and 52 ft. of ash, 
all valued at seventeen shillings. He manufactured chairs. 
Moses Dodge (^^132; 1776) owned 675 ft. of maple at 
two pence, and 1 76 ft. of black walnut at three pence per 
foot. Benjamin Jones (^^303; 1776) was a joiner who 
made miscellaneous cabinet-ware. His goods included a 
desk, ^2-8-0; ditto, ^2-4-0 ; chest with drawers, ^0-13-4; 
case of drawers, ^2-13-4; seven tables, ^2-2-0; stand- 
table, half finished, ;^o-6-8 ; table frame, ^o-io-o; brack- 
ets for desk, ^0-2-0; legs for candlestand, J^o-i-b; lists 
(frames) and backs for chairs, ^0-16-0; thirteen chairs, 
^i-i-o; great chair and six small ditto, ;^5-3-9; two great 
round and six joiner's ditto, ^2-8-0; and a rough table- 
leaf, sixteen pence. Mr. Jones thus made chairs for all 
classes, — even the most fashionable. His timber consisted 
of 207 ft. walnut, 208 ft. maple, 40 ft. cherry, and one 
thousand clapboards. 

It will be seen from the above analysis of the wares pro- 
duced by local workmen in the region of which Salem and 
Marblehead formed the head-centre, that the needs of the 
community must have been very simple, unless the native 
productions were supplemented by importations. This 
conclusion is fully supported by an examination of the in- 
ventories as a whole, which show very small estates during 
the first half century. Indeed, the first considerable estates 

323 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

found are those of James . Calley (1734), and Captain 
Joseph Smethurst (1746), both of Marblehead. Of the 
former's estate of ^2,31 1 -16-18 j4 , only ^74 represented 
household furniture, and of this a desk worth ^5, a 
looking-glass, ^5, and a clock ^7, were the only notice- 
able pieces. Of Captain Smethurst's total of ^2,685-1 1-7, 
a schooner accounts for ^300, and real estate for ;^i,ooo 
more. He owned silver plate valued at ^107-19-2; but 
with the exception of a Japanned tea-table (^5-10-0) all 
his wooden furniture was such as was made by the native 
joiners. When the woods are specified during this period, 
which is comparatively seldom, they prove to be those 
found in the joiners' shops ; viz.: pine, maple, etc. The ab- 
sence of cabinet-makers' advertisements from the Salem 
papers is noticeable. A rapid survey of their columns has 
not yielded a single example, although notices of the ar- 
rival of English goods are not uncommon. 

The same conditions existed in Boston. Sometimes we 
find a cabinet-maker removing to Salem from Boston, which 
was regarded as one of the headquarters of good work. 
We have seen Boston wares quoted in New York. An 
advertisement, in 1771, informs the public that Joseph P. 
Goodwin from Charlestown has set up business in Salem. 
" He makes best mahogany chairs, couches and easy chairs, 
sofas and anything in the chairmaking business. ... N. 
B. He has got two sorts of chairs made by him which are 
called as neat as any that are made in Boston." The last 
sentence implies that the chair-makers of the day by no 
means confined themselves slavishly to recognized styles and 
patterns, but sought to introduce variations of their own 
design. Even clocks and watches were made here in con- 
siderable quantities, and some of the native makers were in 

3*4 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

very good repute. The Salem Gazette of December 23, 
1774, announces that "James Furnivall, clock and watch- 
maker (late journeyman to Richard Cranch of Boston), has 
opened a shop at Marblehead." 

An Ipswich clockmaker at this date was Richard Man- 
ning; a simple clock of his, made in 1767, faces page 360. 
It is owned by the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass. 

One of the most interesting old houses in Salem has 
been made famous by Hawthorne in The House of the Seven 
Gables. Four generations of Turners — ^wealthy merchants 
of Salem — lived in it. The first. Captain John Turner, 
removed here soon after 1662. In his day, the house con- 
sisted of two large lower rooms, two chambers above, and 
rooms in the attic. Captain Turner's troop served against 
the Indians and in the Canadian Expedition. His son, 
John, was of great importance in Salem. He commanded 
the town regiment and was one of his Majesty's Council. 
He died in 1743, worth ^10,752-17-85^* His home was 
elaborately furnished. The "best room" contained four 
tables : one, of black walnut, was large and expensive ; an- 
other was japanned ; the third, a small walnut ; and the 
fourth, an inlaid tea-table and stand. Upon the latter 
stood a set of blue-and-white china. There were twelve 
black cane chairs, half a dozen white cane chairs, and a 
great white cane chair in the room. A looking-glass with 
two brass arms, valued at ^30, and two glass sconces hung 
on the walls, as well as nineteen mezzotints covered with 
glass. A bright fire blazed upon the usual brass hearth 
furniture ; and the great amount of china and glass, in- 
cluding punch-bowls, flowered decanters, plates, dishes, tea- 
pots, etc., indicates that the " best room " was a breakfest and 
dining, as well as a living room. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The "Great Chamber" was equally well furnished. 
Its most valuable piece of furniture was the bed with its 
head-cloth, tester, double set of curtains of camblet and 
" flpw'd muzling," its silk quilt and blankets. The window 
curtains matched the bed curtains, as was the custom of the 
day. The next important articles were a " case of drawers 
and mounts" and a cabinet, worth respectively ;^3i-io-o 
and ^25. There were no less than eighteen chairs here. 
There was, of course, an open fire upon brass andirons, and 
on the walls were twenty pictures in lacquered frames, and 
a looking-glass with two brass arms. There was a consid- 
erable amount of china in this " great chamber," including 
a " sullabub pott," and three china images used as orna- 
ments. Some of it stood upon a painted table and a stand. 
Nearly every article used in table service is found here. 

The Hall contains a clock worth ^14; and a long, 
a black walnut oval, and two small tables. There are two 
old chairs, and twelve leather chairs, a looking-glass, three 
maps, and a brass dial ; and iron dogs instead of the custo- 
mary brass. 

Passing into the hall chamber, we find a bed hung with 
calico curtains, head-cloth and tester, and made comfort- 
able with a blanket, a green rug, a blue rug, and a large 
and small calico quilt. The windows are draped, seven 
pictures brighten the walls, and we note a " case of draws," 
a cypress chest, a square table, a stand, four black chairs, 
one old chair, and some china, among which is a large 
coflfee-cup. 

The " shop chamber " contains a bed with curtains, 
head-cloth and valance, two old chairs and three small 
pictures. Six pictures adorn the stairway; and a map of 
Virginia and Maryland, and one of Boston, the entry way. 

316 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The "Porch Chamber" was furnished with a bed and 
bedstead having a tester, head-cloth, curtains and valance 
and four rugs, worth altogether ^^25; and an old chest of 
drawers. 

The "Kitchen Chamber" had a more expensive bed 




MAHOGANY FIBLD-BBD 
Id the Wima Houk, Pammouth, N. H. See pige 334. 



and bedstead, adorned with blue curtains and furnished with 
two blankets and two quilts. A looking-glass, an old oak 
table, an old case of drawers, and five Turkey-work and 
five callimanco chairs complete the furniture of this room. 
The windows were made cheerful by six curtains of calico. 
Four pictures hung on the walls. There was the usual 
brass hearth furniture, and in this room were kept great 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

stores of Holland, garlix, "oznabriggs" and other materials 
for sheeting and counterpanes, besides table linen amount- 
ing to no less than ;^390. The "Great Chamber Gar- 
rott" was also .a store room. Here we find two old bed- 
steads, an old chest, fifteen old rugs, and a feather bed 
weighing fifty pounds. The "Accounting Room," on the 
first floor, contained an old slate table, three trunks and a 
chest. We cannot fail to notice the arms and ammunition 
here, including pistols and bullets ; nor the silver scales and 
weights worth ^5, a silver-hilted sword-belt and dagger 
valued at ^8, velvet holsters, a bufl^ belt and three straps 
and belt, and a case with fifteen bottles. 

In Captain Francis Goelet's Journal [iy/^6—ij^o) we 
get a glimpse of the best house of this district. 

" Oct. 20th. Lodg'd at Mr. Brownes after Breakfast 
Sauntered round the Towne mayking Our Observations on 
the Build", etc. Dynd at his House after Dinner had a 
Good Deal Conversation with him upon Various subjects, 
he being a Gent** of Excellent Parts well Adversed in Lea- 
turate, a Good Scholar, a Vertuosa and Lover of the Lib- 
eral Arts and Sciences, having an Extraordinary Library of 
Books of the Best Ancient and Modern Authors, about 3 
a Clock we Sett out in his Coach for his Country Seat 
rideing trough a Pleasant Country and fine Rhoads we ar- 
rived there at 4 a clock the Situation is very Airy Being 
upon a Heigh Hill which Over Looks the Country all 
Round and afl^ords a Pleasant Rural Prospect of a Fine 
Country with fine woods and Lawns with Brooks water 
running trough them. You have also a Prospect of the 
Sea on one Part and On another A Mountain 80 Miles 
distant. The House is Built in the Form of a Long Square, 
with Wings at Each End, and is about 80 Foot Long, in 

318 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the middle is a Grand Hall Surrounded above by a fine Gal- 
lery with Neat turned Bannester and the Cealing of the 
Hall representing a Large room Designed for an Assembly 
or Ball Room, the Gallery for the Musicians, etc. The 
Building has four doors Fronting the N. E. S. and W. 
Standing in the Middle the Great Hall you have a Full 
View of the Country from the Four Dores at the Ends of 
the Buildings in 2 upper and 2 Lower Rooms with Neat 
Stair Cases Leadeing to them in One the Lower Rooms is 
his Library and Studdy well Stockd with a Noble Collec- 
tion of Books." 

We have seen that none of the Salem or Marblehead 
joiners and cabinet-makers, whom we have found recorded 
before 1773, kept in stock the most expensive kinds of fur- 
niture, whether imported or home-made ; we have also seen 
that the newspapers do not mention it. The question 
therefore naturally arises : Where did the Turners, Brownes 
and other prosperous merchants procure their fine furniture ? 
The answer is that some of it was made to order, and the 
rest was specially imported, sometimes in their own ships, 
just as was the case in Boston. 

It was quite the custom for persons of affluence to have 
their furniture made to order, and sometimes they imported 
their own woods, as in the case of Christopher Champlin, 
a young merchant of Newport, R. L, who brought with 
him from the West Indies, in 1 762, several logs of mahogany 
and had a number of pieces of furniture constructed. 
Among these was a bureau which was used for many years 
by his daughter. Miss Peggy Champlin, quite a famous 
belle, and by his son, Christopher Grant Champlin, who 
purchased the Champlin House in Newport (previously 
known as the Cheeseborough House) in 178 2, The bureau 

319 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

finally descended to Mr, George Champlin Mason, of 
Newport. 

The correspondence of merchants with their foreign 
agents from the earliest times contains many orders for 
purchases of household goods. Sufficient has survived to 
show the extent of this practice. A few specific instances 
may be offered in evidence. 

In a letter to Samuel Storke, dated "Boston, N. E., 
Feb. 20, 17-3/' we find Judge Sewall enclosing the follow- 
ing "Memoranda": 
"To be Bought. 

" Curtains and Vallens for a Bed, with Counterpane, 
Head-Cloth and Tester of good yellow waterd worsted 
camlet * with Triming well made ; and Bases, if it be the 
fashion. 

" A good fine large Chintz Quilt well made. A True 
Looking-Glass of black Walnut Frame of the newest 
Fashion (if the Fashion be good), as good as can be bought 
for five or six pounds. 

" A second Looking-Glass as good as can be bought for 
four or Five pounds, same kind of frame. 

"A Duzen of good black Walnut chairs, fine Cane, with 
a Couch. A Duzen of Cane Chairs of a different figure, 
and great Chair, for a Chamber; all black Walnut.** 

His list also includes a bell-metal skillet, a warming- 
pan, four pairs of brass-headed iron dogs, a brass hearth for 
a chamber with dog*s tongs, shovel and fender of the new- 
est fashion (the fire to lie on the iron), a brass mortar, four 
pairs of brass candlesticks, four brass snuffers with stands, 
six small brass chafing dishes, two brass basting ladles, a pair 

* « Send also of the same Camlet and Trimingy as may be enough to make CushioiiB 
for the Chamber Chairs.** 

330 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of bellows with brass noses, a small hair broom, a dozen large 
pewter plates, newest fashion, a dozen pewter porringers, a 
dozen small glass salt-cellars, and a dozen good ivory-hafted 




LOOKINC-CLASS 

N. H. Ste page 167. 



knives and forks. These articles are intended for his daugh- 
ter Judith. He sends ;^5o and adds, " If there be any money 
over, send a piece of fine Cambrick and a Ream of good 
Writing Paper." 

Another instance is the following order in a letter from 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Sir William Pepperell to Silas Hooper in England. It is 
dated December 6, 1737. He writes: 

" I Desire you will buy and send me by y* first good 
Opportunity, for this port or Boston, twenty peaces ossen- 
brigs ; eight dosn. of halfe hower glasses ; foure dos" of halfe 
minit glasses; three peaces of bedtick of about fiveteen 
pence p' yard ; — ten peaces of Lubeck Duck ; six dozen of 
such castor hats you sent last ... six dos" of Cheep Closet 
Locks, six dos" of such Chist Locks you sent last, a grose 
of pad Locks; about Cw^ of put' dishes, a grose of put' 
plates, fifty w^ of put' basons; ... a dos" of hansome 
Chairs of y*^ New fashion for a Chamber and a hansome 
looking glass for y^ same, and Curtains, etc., for a bed of 
y* same, and Case of draws. Send me brass and Locks and 
henges for six Scritors and Ditto for y^ same for Case of 
Draws ; six dos" p' of buts for henges of tables ... a Dos** 
of Choice Chist locks that cannot be pickt; . . . foure 
dos"* p' of Snipe bells to hang small Chists ; . . . send two 
marble Stons to make two haths one of six feet Long and 
fifteen Inches wide ; . . . The hight of y^ Chamber, where 
y* bed is to be put, between y^ flore and y* plasturing, is 8 
feet and 4 Inches . . . You have here inclosed, a draught 
of a chamber, I desire you to geet mock tapestory or pant** 
canvis lay** in oyle for hangings for y^ same, and send me 
• . . My wife would Chuse that y^ Curtains for y^ bed sent 
for in this foregoing Letter Should be of a Crimson Couler, 
if Fashionable.** (Other instances of individual importa- 
tions are given on pages 374—76 and 380—82.) 

Two of Sir William's chairs are shown on page 333. 
They are now in the Ladd House, Portsmouth, N. H. 
These were of carved oak frames filled in with cane and 
cane seats, as the back still indicates. This style of chair 

33* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

has frequently appeared in our former pages. It belongs to 
the seventeenth century, but like other styles it overlapped. 
Sir William Pepperell was one of the most distinguished 




CARVED OAK CHAIRS 
Otigjiudly owned by Sir William Pcppcrtll ; now in the L»td House, Pommooch, N. H. See page 331. 



New Englanders. He was born in Kittery, Me., in 1696, 
and died there in 1759. He was the only native of New 
England created a baronet. His title was the reward for 
his service at the siege and capture of Louisburg in 1 745. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

His house was richly furnished, his table was resplendent 
with massive plate, costly mirrors and paintings adorned his 
walls, his cellar was filled with choice wines, and his park 
stocked with deer. 

When his daughter, Elizabeth, was married to Natha- 
niel Sparhawk, her father built a handsome residence for 
her and furnished it in the richest style. In accordance 
with the English fashion, a certain colour predominated in 
each chamber. The bed and window curtains were of red, 
blue, yellow and other coloured damask and each room was 
designated the Red, the Blue, the Yellow, or the Green 
Room, To this bright use of colour in colonial days we 
have frequently drawn attention. 

The interesting bed shown on page 327 is a mahogany 
field bed which so frequently appears in the homes of the 
period. It is owned by Miss Sherburne and is in the 
Warner House, Portsmouth, N. H. 

Connecticut preserves the seventeenth-century flavour 
in her houses until many years after the new century has 
come in. Leather, sealskin, wooden and serge chairs are 
the only kinds found in the house of Col. Robert Treat 
(1710). Eleven years later. Col. Joseph Treat (^2,026) 
has only leather chairs; and a brass clock, ^5-10-0, is his 
most expensive piece of furniture. An example of this 
clock has been given (see facing page 168). John 
Hodson (;^947 ; 1 7 1 1 ) has a bed in every room except 
the hall ; the principal furniture of the latter being two 
square tables and eleven high- and twelve low-backed 
leather chairs. The old "cupboard" still lingers. John 
Mix, of New Haven (171 2), has a "cuberd with ye cloth, 
and earthen things on the cuberds head.*' Robert Treat, 
Jr. {;^3,383; 1 721), owns a "cupboard in ye parlour, glass 

334 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

case, great chest in ye parlour,'* great chair carved, and 
old carved cupboard. 

However, the old carved furniture was no longer being 
made; the chairs especially were undergoing a great 
change. Some of those mentioned about 1710 are cane, 
black, white and varnished. The change from the seven- 
teenth century appears plainly in the inventory of John 
Mix, Jr. (^1,254; 1722), who possessed "six crooked- 
backed chairs, two great ditto, six straight-backed ditto, 
six five-slat ditto, three red ditto, and eight plain ditto.'* 
The straight-backed chairs had turned posts and front legs; 
and horizontal flat bars in the back made them two-, three-, 
four-, or five-slat chairs. Samuel Clark of Milford 
(^6,666; 1725) had leather, black, red and white chairs. 
The red chair was made of white-wood and painted. We 
also find red calfskin and red Russia-leather chairs men- 
tioned. Black chairs were very general now ; and the 
Turkey-work chair was as popular as ever. Mary Prout 
(1724) owned six new Turkey-work chairs, six older ditto, 
and three lower ditto. She also owned twenty-three others, 
including two great chairs. There was thus considerable 
variety in height. The old square timber chairs survived 
in many houses, and chairs with cane in the back lasted 
far into the century. 

The great mass of frirniture in Connecticut was en- 
tirely of native manufacture. Oak was largely neglected, 
the favourite woods being cedar, white-wood, cherry and 
black walnut. In 1726, a rich cabinet-maker of New 
Haven has cedar, cherry and white-wood boards only in 
his shop. The chests, cases, and desks of drawers that 
were made in such large numbers now often had brass 
mounts. The applied black ornaments and knobs were 

335 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

filing into disuse, and were labeled " old-fashioned " in the 
inventories. In 1726, drops and escutcheons are valued at 
fourpence each. Mahogany made slow progress in public 
favour in Connecticut. With the exception of a stray 
piece here and there, it shows no sign till well on towards 
the middle of the century. Job Smith of New Haven 
(^8,907; 1743), did not possess a single piece of ma- 
hogany. His most expensive articles were two escritoires 
at ^9 each, a black walnut case of drawers at ^7, and an 
eight-day clock at ^30. His chairs were leather, wooden, 
black, and covered with shalloon. By this time, tables such 
as those facing page 64 and on page 97 were no longer 
made. Mr. Smith had an " old-fashion " one that was valued 
at four shillings only, whereas his three oval tables came 
to ^7-5-0. His fellow townsmen. Lieutenant Stephen 
Trowbridge (^^3,010; 1744), Michael Todd (^7,028; 
1745), Elihu Yale (^8,189; 1748), and Theophilus Mun- 
son (^6,868; 1749), also lacked any mahogany among 
their household goods. At that date, men of their posi- 
tion and relative wealth in other colonies would have been 
behind the times without at least mahogany chairs and tables. 
Lieutenant Trowbridge's chairs were great, old slat, plain, 
slat-bannister, crown-back, three-slat and four-slat. The 
woods are not mentioned. The only other pieces of cabi- 
net-ware of any importance are a case of drawers, ^15, and 
a case of drawers of cherry-tree on frame ^12-10-0. 
Michael Todd had a case of drawers with steps, ^6, and 
a button- wood oval table, ^2-15-0; but nothing else of 
note. Elihu Yale's chairs were old black, black slat-back, 
and white. He had seven tables, including a "vernish 
table" (lacquered) and an old table with oak leaf. He 
owned a valuable chest of drawers and several old-fashioned 

336 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

chests, one with a drawer, drop and escutcheon. The de- 
scription of the latter answers to that shown on page 271. 
Cherry was used extensively in the construction of 
tables, chairs and chests and cases of drawers. Kalm has 




Owned bf the Whipple family, n 



CROWN-BACK CHAIR 
by ihc Miaet Bucneit, BlmtaitJ, Cambridge, Mu>. 



explained the virtues and popularity of this wood (see page 
285). A low case of drawers and a chest of drawers of 
Connecticut make appear on pages 339 and 395. They 
are of dark cherry and are both ornamented with the sun- 
flower. Both pieces are owned by Thompson S. Grant, 
Esq., Enfield, Conn. 

In the middle of the century, the prevailing styles of 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

chair still include black, white and cane-back, as well as 
leather and Turkey-work bottoms. A good deal of cherry 
appears side by side with white-wood. Warham Mather 
(^2,511; 1745) had several pieces of cherry, one of 
which was a large table — no mahogany is mentioned. 
Theophilus Manson (^^6,868; 1749) has two-slat, three- 
slat, four-slat and crown-back chairs. He also owns a 
case of drawers on a frame with feet, ;^20, and a desk, 
j[i2 ; but again no mahogany. 

In the same year, we find black chairs with straight 
backs, flat-backed ditto, and black crook-back ditto. We 
also gather that white-wood board costs threepence per 
foot. The Rev. Samuel Whittelsey (^2 1 ,64 1 — 1 4— i o ; 
1752) has walnut, cherry and white- wood furniture, but 
no mahogany. Among other things, he has six cherry- 
tree chairs, ^9 ; a black walnut chest of drawers and table, 
^54; a desk, ^^23; a white-wood coloured table, ^2-15-0, 
and a coloured square table, ^i-io-o. 

The two-, three-, four-, and five-slat chairs were the 
same that were called two-back, four-back, etc., in the 
Boston inventories. The crown-back chairs belonging to 
Lieutenant Trowbridge and Theophilus Manson had lately 
come into fashion here. The shape of the back, which 
somewhat closely follows the outline of a crown, gave this 
chair its name. In common with so many other designs 
of carved walnut and mahogany frames of that period, this 
is often attributed to Chippendale. One variety of the 
crown-back chair appears on page 123, and another on 

page 337- 

The latter is an early and plain form, and shows the 

crown in part of the splat as well as the top of the back. 

This is one of two chairs originally owned by the Whip- 

338 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

pie femily. They belong to the Misses Burnett, grand- 
daughters of Mr. James Russell Lowell, at Eimwood, Cam- 
bridge, Mass. 

Although no mahogany is mentioned, the household 




LOW CASE OF DRAWERS, OR DRESSING-TABLE (dARK CHERRy) 
Owned by Thompwn S. Grant, £»i., Enfield, Conn. See page 317. 

goods of Joseph Bryan, of Milford (^^1,062 ; 1752), show- 
some pretensions to elegance. Of his thirty-six chairs, six 
had worked bottoms, six were of Turkey-work, three 
white and two dozen black. An oval table, j^^io; a tea- 
table, £/^ ; a large waxwork (lacquer) case, ^20 ; and a 
case of drawers and a dressing-table, ^^33, are the most 
noticeable pieces. The very expensive case of drawers was 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

probably made by a native cabinet-maker ; and some of the 
cost was due to brass mounts, the value of vv^hich we can 
gather from the contemporary inventory of John Miles 
(^4,804; 1755). He owned one set of brass for a chest 
of drawers, ^3, and another for a desk, ;^io. He seems 
to have worked, like so many of his brethren, almost 
exclusively in cherry and white-wood. His shop con- 
tained 202 ft. of the latter at sixpence per foot, and 384 
ft. of cherry at ijj^ pence per foot. 

On page 341 are shown two mahogany pieces owned by 
Miss Marion P. Whitney, New Haven, Conn. The chair 
was originally the property of Governor William Pitkin 
(1694— 1769), governor of Connecticut in 1766—69. The 
model shows a curious combination of Anglo-Dutch legs 
and frame-work with the Gothic tracery in the splat that 
came into fashion in England towards the middle of the 
century. The table is square with falling leaves supported 
by legs that may be pulled in or out. These are slightly 
cabriole and end in hoof feet. An oval table of the, same 
period appears on page 379. 

The Providence inventories tell the same story as those 
of New Haven. There was plenty of comfort, and the houses 
were thoroughly well furnished, but the cabinet-ware was 
of native make, except in rare instances. Among the many 
estates of more than one thousand pounds, we have the fol- 
lowing: Major W. Crawford, ^^3,551, 1720; Benjamin 
Tillinghast, ^4.776, 1726; Job Harris, ^1,615, 1729; 
Captain Nicholas Power, ^^1,751, 1734; Captain William 
Walker, ^2,498, 1742; Arnold Coddington, ^^3,640, 
1742; Stephen Arnold, ^2,127, 1743; Peter Thatcher, 
;^i,i2i, 1745; Captain William Tillinghast, ^4,290, 
1753; Captain Ebenezer Hill, ^3,314; David Rutting- 

340 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




MAHOGANY TABLE ; 
The biter oripiuaji belonged to Gaveroor Williin 
New Hiven, Conn. Sec page 340. 



CHAIR 

ow owned by Miss Mirion P. Whitn 



^^S' jC^A^Si John Mawney, ^^9,050; Rev. John Check- 
ley, j^2, 530, and George Dunbar, ^2,261, all 1754; Oliver 
Arnold, _^i,o2i, 1771. In none of these inventories is a 
single piece of mahogany recorded, with the exception of 
John Mawney, who possessed a solitary desk of that wood 
valued at j£4-0. When the woods are mentioned, which, 
relatively, is very seldom, we find the same as in Connec- 
ticut : pine, walnut, white-wood, maple and cherry. Peter 
Thatcher and David Ruttingborg both made furniture ; the 
former had maple boards in his shop, and the latter had 
pine. The old "cupboard" gives place at an early date to 
the jcase of drawers. The latter and the escritoire formed 
the most decorative pieces of furniture in the rooms, and 
often attained high values. Arnold Coddington's desk was 
worth ;£^2o. It was mounted with brass, as was all the new 
furniture of that kind. Mr. Coddington had a lot of brass 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

for sale for the use of native cabinet-makers. It comprised 
three dozen Dutch rings and escutcheons at three shillings 
a dozen ; three gross of extra desk brass handles at eighteen 
shillings a dozen, with ten dozen escutcheons to match, at 
fourteen shillings a dozen; a gross of brass handles at fif- 
teen shillings a dozen, with seven dozen escutcheons to 
match at eleven shillings a dozen ; ten dozen brass handles 
at twelve shillings a dozen, with six and a half dozen 
escutcheons at eight shillings a dozen ; some odd brass han- 
dles; and a fine-ward desk-lock valued at one guinea. 

The case of drawers was low and high. To-day the 
two varieties are popularly known as "low-boy** and 
" high-boy,'* but I have never come across these terms in • 
any inventory of the seventeenth or eighteenth century. In 
the Providence inventories, the distinction between chest 
of, or with drawers, and the case of drawers is clearly 
maintained. For example, John Mawney (1754) owns a 
maple low case of drawers at twelve and a chest with drawers 
at eight pounds. Benjamin Tillinghast also has a chest with 
drawers at three, and a case of drawers with glasses upon it at 
seven pounds. The top of the case of drawers was therefore 
adorned with china and glass as the head of the cupboard, 
which it superseded, had been. The case of drawers first 
appeared probably about 1 690, and made rapid strides into 
popularity. It is found in the majority of comfortable 
homes in the early years of the eighteenth century, and the 
native workmen soon construct it of black walnut, cherry, 
white-wood, maple and even pine. When made of white- 
wood, or pine, it was usually coloured: the favourite tint 
was Indian red, but sometimes these woods were stained, 
grained and dappled to imitate maple and other woods. 
Some of these cases of drawers, although presenting a good 

341 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

outward appearance, are of somewhat flimsy workmanship, 
and show signs of cheap construction. The drawers sometimes 
are ill-fitting. A very fine example of the high case of draw- 
ers, belonging to Mr. George Dudley Seymour, of New 
Haven, is shown on the frontispiece. This is made of 
white-wood and was originally stained Venetian red. It is 
now coloured a deep brown, and is adorned with brass drop- 
handles. 




LOW CASE OF DRAWEIU 
Oii^ni)l)> owned by Oovcmor DuiUej, now bj the ConconI Andqiuiian Sodely, Concord. 



Another six-legged high case of drawers appears feeing 
page 390. It is preserved in the Whipple House, 
Ipswich, Mass. 

A low case of drawers, or dressing table with drawers, 
of cheap wood painted black, such as was made by the 
native joiners, faces page 326. It is owned by the Essex 
Institute, Salem, Mass. Another, owned by the Concord 
Antiquarian Society, is represented on page 367 and one, 
owned by Mrs. Wainwright, of Hartford, faces page 322. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

When mahogany came into general use, it was used in 
the construction of the case of drawers, side by side with 
the other woods. By that date, the legs had become slen- 
der, and had been reduced to four in number. The low 
case of drawers probably never had more than four legs, 
although six-legged so-called "low-boys" are occasionally 
shown ; but these are really only the lower part of the high 
case of drawers which rested upon it, and which has been 
lost. The low case had two or more rows of drawers ; the 
lower part of the high case generally had one only. The 
illustrations will make this clear. If the upper parts of the 
high cases of drawers facing pages 313 and 390 were re- 
moved, there would be a sense of incompleteness in the lower 
parts that is not felt with the low cases given on pages 339 
and 343, and especially on page 331. On page 345 ap- 
pears the lower part of a six-legged case of drawers owned 
by Mrs. Wainwright, Hartford, Conn. 

Before leaving Providence, we should note the hetero- 
geneous collection of cabinet-ware found in the houses as 
we approach the Revolution. Oliver Arnold (1771) will 
serve as an instance. Of mahogany he owned a high case 
of drawers, two square tea-tables, a china table, and a 4 J^ - 
ft. square-leaved table ; of black walnut, a desk and book- 
case and a 4-foot table ; of cherry, a china table ; of maple, 
a 5-foot table, a square and an oval tea-table ; a 4-foot, a 4- 
foot round, and an oval table, and six framed chairs; and 
of pine, a long table. Other furniture, the wood of which 
is not specified, includes an old high case of drawers, an 
older ditto, two small tables and a candlestand, a small 
stand-table, six framed green, two high-backed and two 
low Windsor, six Iramed-seat banistered, six banistered, six 
four-back, two round, and a great chair. 

344 



V *' 



to 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

In our survey of this period before the Revolution, if 
we examine the full contents of a typical home every ten 
years or so, we shall be able to form a clear idea of the suc- 
cessive changes and developments of household furniture. 
The possessions of Governor Phipps {see page 230) are 




PART OF A SIX-LEGGED HIGH CASE OF DRAWERS 
Owned by Mra. Wainwrighc, Hactfbrd, Conn. See p»ge J44. 



representative of the best that was in use during the first 
decade of the eighteenth century. His chests of drawers 
with tables-and-stands and dressing-boxes were of the new 
style we have just been considering. In his house also, we 
still find the closet which was a sort of alcove, or small 
annex to a larger chamber. We constantly come across 
this in the better class of house all through this period. 
Robert Bronsden (;£'3,252; 1702) had a closet to his 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

dining-room that contained a table, his pistols and some 
books. In the closet of the Chamber over Hall, there were 
three Turkey-work chairs, a table with a calico carpet, a 
picture and a sword. In the closet to the Chamber over 
Dining Room, there was a bedstead with curtains and 
valance, besides a black frame looking-glass; while the room 
itself contained only a square table, six Turkey-work chairs, 
some things on the mantel-tree, and brass hearth-ware. 

A view of a comfortable Boston home of 1707 is 
gained from that of Katharine Eyre, widow of John Eyre, 
who is about to be married to Wait Winthrop. Her hall 
is furnished with two oval tables, a dozen cane chairs and a 
great chair, a couch and quilt, a looking-glass, a clock 
worth j[i2, and brass andirons, shovel and tongs. In the 
hall chamber, which is the most expensively frirnished 
room in the house, there is a handsome bedstead hung 
with china curtains trimmed with India silk. A quilt of 
the same lies upon the feather bed, as well as a pair of fine 
large blankets. She owns an olive wood cabinet valued at 
^5. Six Turkey-work chairs, a cane couch, a table and a 
looking-glass complete the furniture of this attractive apart- 
ment, rendered still more so by a number of books worth 
^15. The fire-place is adorned with brass; the light is de- 
rived from candles in brass candlesticks. The "kitchen 
chamber '' is furnished with a feather bed and bedstead, 
hung with "searge curtains and vallens." A chest with 
drawers, worth j[y, stands in this room, and there are 
seven cane chairs and couch, a looking-glass, andirons, 
tongs and shovel. Six Turkey-work chairs form the seats 
in the Little Chamber, where the large bedstead is also 
hung with "searge curtains and vallenis.'' Green curtains 
are in "ye chamber over the kitchen chamber" and cur- 

346 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

tains of that colour decorate the bedstead. In "ye little 
room*' there were nine cane chairs, two little tables, a 
looking-glass, and andirons, tongs, etc. A feather bed 
seems to have been the only furniture of the " second 
chamber over ye little room." One of the bedsteads is dec- 
orated with "a suit of white callicoe curtains and vallens 
lac*d." Mrs. Eyre possessed plate amounting to ^169 and 
a considerable amount of table and bed linen. Her estate 
totalled ;;^5, 328-1 2-2, and of this ;^i 83-1 5-0 was in fur- 
niture. 

The tables show little change during these early years. 
Oak, pine and black walnut, with occasional cedar and 
maple, are the chief woods. Captain Andrew Wilson 
(17 10) has a chestnut table, and Thomas Gilbert (1719) a 
large oval one of beech. Square, round and eight-square 
are common shapes, but the oval is even more favoured, 
and the octagon gradually disappears. The slate table is 
not rare. 

Between 1700 and 1720, we meet with the following 
varieties of chairs : seal-skin, Turkey-work, leather, rush, 
cane, wicker, patchwork, black, black matted, black bass, 
black cane, flag, knit, low-back, two-back, three-back, four- 
back, five-back, mohair, bass, blue serge, green-flowered 
serge, cane-back with bass bottoms, cane-back with leather 
bottoms, blue china, flat-back, plate-back, straight-back, and 
crook-back. The four-back is the same chair that is 
called four-slat elsewhere during this period. Examples of 
the four- and five-back (or slat) chair have already been 
given on page 87. The straight is represented on page 4; 
and varieties of the flat-back chair, which had a flat splat, 
appear on pages 39, 65 and 85. An early example of the 
crook-back chair is shown on page i o i and another variety 

347 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

on page 184. The tendency to stuff" the seats of the chairs 
and cover them with more or less rich material, in addition 
to Turkey-work and leather, was rapidly increasing. Com- 




I -BOTTOM 
a Read Chadwick, Boicon, Mia. Sec pige 349. 



fort was no longer largely left to the ministry of cushions. 
The consequence is that by 1720 cushions, except for win- 
dow-seats, have largely disappeared from the inventories. 
We find them sometimes retained, however, with rush- and 
bass-bottomed chairs. The elbow chair is often specified 
34! 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

"with cushions/' The elbow and the easy chair are dis- 
tinct : the arms, back and seat of the latter were all up- 
holstered, the commonest form being the "wing chair" (see 
facing page 184 and page 293). Charles Shepreeve 
(1722) owned six elbow chairs, ^4-10-0; and one easy 
chair, ^2. The rush-bottom chair represented on page 
348 and owned by Dr. James Read Chadwick, Boston, 
Mass., is an exceedingly interesting specimen. The legs 
and stretchers are survivals of an earlier period, while the 
top rail is "embowed'' and the jar-shaped splat pierced 
(see page 277). A rush-bottom corner chair, sometimes 
called a "roundabout'' chair, with similar legs, is shown 
on page 364. Joint-stools are still in use in some houses. 
Bedsteads, high and trundle, still maintain their place, and 
are adorned with a variety of bright curtains, hangings and 
rugs or quilts that generally match the window curtains, 
and often the chair-covers, in hue and material. Varieties 
of the folding-bed are met with more frequently. Elisha 
Hopkins ( 1 7 1 2 ) owns a press bedstead worth ninety shil- 
lings; and an old one belonging to Samuel Jacklen (171 8) 
is set down at fifteen shillings. The latter was hung with 
old homespun curtains and valance. 

It has already been shown how difficult it is to get 
precise definitions of terms in the dictionaries that were 
printed before the middle of the eighteenth century. It is 
only when we find both the chest with drawers and the 
case of drawers in the same inventory, that we can be sure 
that these differed in kind. Even during the reign of 
Queen Anne, the distinction between the trunk and the 
chest was not uniformly maintained in the Boston inven- 
tories. The chest and the chest with drawers were some- 
times covered with leather like the trunk; and the trunk 

349 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

had drawers and sometimes feet like the chest. Thus 
Ambrose Daws (1706) had an old leather chest with draw- 
ers; and Josias Byles (1708) and Captain Andrew Wilson 
(1710) each owned a trunk with feet. An early chest 
with drawers of this period that may also have been classi- 
fied as a trunk with drawers, faces page 344. It is inter- 
esting as showing the first step in the development of the 
chest of drawers from the most elementary form of chest 
(see pages 215-6). This trunk is covered with red leather 
and studded with brass nails arranged to form a border of 
rose, thistle and shamrock. Upon the top is the mono- 
gram A. R. It is said to have been the travelling trunk 
of Queen Anne, and was purchased in Guilford, Surrey, by 
Mr. Charles Wyllys Elliott in 1870. It is now owned by 
Mrs. Charles Wyllys Elliott, Cambridge, Mass. 

The hall shown on page 351 is that of the Warner 
House, Portsmouth, N. H. This is the oldest brick build- 
ing now standing in that town. It was built in 171 8 and 
finished in 1723 at a cost of ^^6,000. It was originally 
owned by Captain Archibald Macpheadris, a merchant and 
native of Scotland, who married a daughter of Governor 
John Wentworth. Their daughter Mary became the wife 
of the Hon. Jonathan Warner in 1754. Mr. Warner was 
one of the King's Council and remained a Tory. 

A mahogany low case of drawers, or dressing-table, 
from this house appears on page 331. 

Our next typical home is that of Mr. John Mico, a 
wealthy Boston merchant (^^i 1,230-17-0, 1718). His 
house contained twelve rooms, besides the entry with stair- 
case, pantry, cellar and wash-house. The Dining-room con- 
tained two tables, six Turkey-work and four bass chairs, a 
looking-glass, four sconces, a good clock worth ^10, brass 

350 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




HALL IN THE WARNER HOUSE 
tBnouih, N. H,, built in 1716. Sa page 350. 



andirons, etc., and glass in the "Beaufett," and ''earthen- 
ware in the closett." The Hall contained no bedstead, and 
seems to have kept its character as a hall. Here we notice 
a "scriptore," or writing desk, upon which stand some 
glasses; there is a chimney table and a chimney glass, a 
large looking-glass, a tea-table with a set of china upon it ; 
and sixteen chairs and two elbow chairs reach the value of 
^^14. A touch of elegance is bestowed by "four sconces 
with silver sockets" upon the walls, and five cushions lend 
comfort to the chairs. Among the ornaments is a flower- 
pot. The firelight flickers upon brass andirons, etc. The 
next important room is the " Hall Chamber." A luxurious 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

"silk bed and furniture** worth ;i^3o, a couch, squab and 
pillow, a table, dressing-box and two stands, "a table 
and twilight,** a chest of drawers, two elbow chairs and 
cushions, seven mohair chairs and brass hearth-ware 
make it evident that the eighteenth century is present 
here. Seven pictures, a "lanthorn,** and twelve leather 
buckets for readiness in case of fire, of course, hang in 
the "Staircase and Entry.** A Little Room, made cheer- 
ful by a log blazing on the brass andirons, is furnished 
with a square table, nine leather chairs and a number of 
books. In the "Chamber over the Little Room** we find 
six Turkey-work and two cane chairs, a square black table, 
and an iron chest. "A set of mantle tree ware** brightens 
the chimney-piece, and beneath it the fire burns upon 
the usual brass hearth furniture. The chamber over the 
dining-room contains a looking-glass, a table and chairs, a 
couch and squab, andirons, and a bed hung with white 
curtains. The chamber over the kitchen has, in addition 
to the bedstead a chest with drawers, six old chairs, an old 
looking-glass and dogs, etc. In the kitchen we find six 
leather chairs, an oak and a pine table, a looking-glass and 
323 ounces of plate. In the four upper chambers there is 
a mat for a floor worth j[2, 2, press, a screen, a little bed 
and suit of blue curtains, a fine case of drawers and chairs, 
trunks, bedsteads, etc. Altogether there are more than 
sixty-eight chairs in Mr. Mico*s house. 

A new feature of the parlour or dining-room that came 
into general use during these years, and occurs in the above 
inventory, was the corner cupboard, known as the buffet, 
variously spelt beaufet, beaufett, beaufait, bofet, etc. On 
its shelves, glass, china and earthenware were displayed. 
It was not a movable, but was fixed in a corner of the 

35* 




"BEAUFAIT" 

nahouttiH Vemen Placr. Bmoh. Nh-iu inlbe Old Slate House, Boitan, Man Sttfag'SSS- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

room, rounding out the angle and producing a most pleas- 
ing effect. The word does not appear in the early dic- 
tionaries of Phillips, Kersey, Cocker, and others, but in 
1748, Dyche describes buffet as "a handsome open cup- 
board or repository for plate, glass, china, etc., which are 
put there either for ornament or convenience of serving 
the table/* In 1738, Mrs. Mary Blair's "Bofett" con- 
tained twenty-three enamelled plates, five burnt china ditto, 
a pair quart china mugs, seven breakfast bowls, six smaller 
ditto, a large sugar-pot, twenty-six china cups, twenty-eight 
china saucers, four china tea-pots, one pair small flowered 
stands and a small server, one glass double cruet, a hearth 
brush, and a pair of blue and white china mugs. The 
total value was ;i^3 2-3-0. 

In William Clarke's "Bofet'* (1742) were twelve china 
plates, a delft pot and cover, and large and small china 
bowls. In 1744, a "Hall Bofet" contains a blue shagreen 
case with eight knives and eight forks with silver caps, and 
eight silver spoons; another case with six ivory-handled 
knives and forks with silver "ferrils**; and six other white- 
handled knives and forks, besides china and glass. 

The "beaufait'* facing page 352 is from the house in 
Vernon Place, Boston. It was built in 1696 by William 
Clough, who sold the house and land to John Pulling in 
1698. The latter left it to his sister, Mrs. Richard Pitcher, 
who sold it to William Merchant, brother-in-law of Gov- 
ernor Hutchinson. It was purchased in 1758 by Captain 
Fortescue Vernon and remained in his family for about 
seventy-five years. The "beaufait" is ornamented with 
cherubs* heads in the spandrils and the hollowed shell. A 
handsomer example of the shell appears in the "boufet*' 
from the Barton homestead on page 354. This was made 

353 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

in 1750. It was presented to the Worcester Society of 
Antiquity, Worcester, Mass., by Mr. Bernard Barton in 
1894. 

The one represented on page 363 has the advantage 




W BOUFET FROM THE BARTON HOMESTEAD, W0RCI9TBR 

Now owned by [be Woicater Soaety of Andquit}, WomMer, M<«. See page )5]. 



over the other in standing in the spot for which it was 
made. This is from the Whipple House, Ipswich, Mass. 
It is furnished with glass doors and is filled with valuable 
old china. 

The buffet from the Peabody House, Boxford, Mass., 



<■ V ^ * • • 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

torn down in 1863, is now owned by Mr. Edwin N. Pea- 
body, in Salem. 

Though the rooms at the beginning of the century 
were generally heated with open fires, yet stoves sometimes 
appear in the inventories. These were generally of Dutch 
manufacture and were obtained from New York. In 1 709, 
Joseph Bridgham has a large Dutch stove worth ten pounds. 
In 1712, Elisha Hopkins has one valued at ninety shillings. 
German stoves also were made by Christopher Sauer, of 
Germantown, and then came the Franklin stove. The 
economical advantage of coal as a fuel was being felt ; and 
the papers announce the arrival of Newcastle coal with in- 
creasing frequency about 1740. "Cole grates*' frequently 
appear in the inventories before that date: Samuel White's 
parlour is supplied with "a grate for coal, ^^6," in 
1736. 

New styles of grates were constantly being introduced, 
but the old andirons still existed side by side with them. 
In 1760, "a new imported and neatly polished coal grate" 
is advertised ; and, in 1 764, " a handsome china stove, suit- 
able for a gentleman's hall or any large room." The front 
of the hearth was frequently a marble slab, and the fire- 
place was often tiled in the Dutch fashion. In 1761, "a 
set of tiles for chimney " is advertised ; and Dutch chim- 
ney tile from three shillings a dozen, in 1772. The old 
portable braziers, or chafing-dishes, are still in use and va- 
rious kinds of "frirnaces" are found. In 1739, a kitchen 
contains an old brass furnace of forty-three pounds weight, 
worth only three shillings ! New England was now man- 
ufacturing brass-ware of her own, and undoubtedly intro- 
duced new patterns in accordance with her progressive 
spirit in all handiwork. Jonathan Jackson was a brazier 

355 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

who died in 1736, and following his imported wares comes 
a list of " Goods of New England manufacture/* It includes 
brass hand-basons, candlesticks and knockers, tools, pots, 
skillets, kettles, plates, saucers, spoons, stirrups, spurs, sta- 
ples, cast dogs, brass-headed dogs, wrought dogs, iron backs 
and warming-pans. The dogs' heads that had given their 
name to the object had given place to other designs. One of 
these we know was tYi^Jleur-de-lys^ for Captain John Welland 
has a pair of " flower de luce dogs '* in his hall chamber. 
The customary tongs, shovel and bellows (the latter fre- 
quently with a brass nose or spout) are supplemented with 
the poker on the advent of coal. William Clark has tongs 
and poker for his dining-room fire in 1742. About 1760, 
we find steel fire-irons coming in. They then seem to be 
more fashionable than those with brass handles. John 
Morley (1765) had two sets of steel andirons, shovel and 
tongs appraised at forty-five shillings, and four other sets, 
the most expensive of which amounted to six shillings. 
Lieutenant-Governor Andrew Oliver (1774) also had steel 
andirons, etc., in his best living-room ; in others, he had 
brass hearths, and dogs with brass tops. 

The mantel-piece is ornamented with glass and china 
images. Earthenware, " old things,** images and cups and 
" mantel tree setts ** are some of the ornaments recorded 
(see page 359). Thomas Down (1709) has furniture for 
two mantel shelves, £1 ; and Captain John Myles (171 1) 
two muslin mantel cloths. Varieties multiplied as the cen- 
tury advanced. Bronzes were scarce, but china, glass, 
earthenware and alabaster cups, vases and images were 
plentiful. Carved work is sometimes in evidence also. 
An entry in 1738 tells of a small carved image sitting in 
a chair ; and in 1 744, two wooden images cost twenty- 

356 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

four shillings, which price implies more than rough carv- 
ing. Though the porcelain came from abroad, there was 
a certain amoi^nt of pottery made here by skilled immi- 
grants. In 1738, the will of a Boston potter named Cur- 
tice Champnoine is recorded. Some of the ornaments in 
use before the middle of the century are as follows : a large 
china woman, fifteen alabaster parrots, four china images, 
two fine large china women, earthen goblets, two china 
men on horseback, two small china women, two china 
toads with men on their backs, two china cows with men, 
two china friars, two china pillars, two china foots, four 
alabaster images, delft flower pots, a figure and five busts. 
The busts most in favour were those of great statesmen and 
especially of military leaders ancient and modern, such as 
Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Prince Eugene and the 
Duke of Marlborough. Shakespeare and Milton are also 
favourite subjects. 

Above the " mantle tree ** thus adorned, was either a 
picture or a mirror. The chimney-picture was often to be 
found in the parlour. Among many instances, Henry 
Franklin owns "a picture for a chimney** in 1725. 
Another article used to decorate the space above the man- 
tel-piece in some rooms was that quaint piece of home- 
made art-work known as the sampler. It is evident that 
some of these were highly prized. One, at least, is worthy 
of advertisement, for, in 1757, the Boston Gazette announces 
that Samuel Smith, at his Vendue house on Coleman's 
Wharf, will sell a gorgeous bed complete, and a " chimney- 
piece imitating Adam and Eve in Paradise wrot with a 
needle after the best manner.*' 

We have seen that the ladies of other colonies beautified 
their homes with needlework which was highly prized, and 

357 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

that the art of the needle was taught in New York by pro- 
fessional adepts (see page 308). It is not surprising to find 
similar advertisements in Boston. In 1755, the Boston 
Gazette announces that " Mrs. Hiller still continues to keep 
school in Hanover Street, a little below the Orange-Tree, 
where young Ladies may be taught Wax-work, Transpar- 
ent and Filligree, painting on glass, Quillwork and Feather- 
work, Japanning, Embroidering with silver and gold. Ten- 
stitch, likewise, the Royal Family to be seen in waxwork." 

In 1 763, Jane Day also had a school in Williams Court, 
Boston, where she taught " all kinds of needle-work, em- 
broidery in gold and silver, all kinds of coloured work, 
Dresden, etc.'* In 1764, Nathaniel Oliver opened a school 
for boys near the Drawbridge, and Mrs. Oliver taught 
needlework. 

The productions of skilled fingers were highly valued ; 
as early as 171 2, Nathaniel By field, of Bristol, owned a 
piece of needlework wrought upon white satin, worth no 
less than £^. 

The importance of the New England kitchen occurs 
from the fact that in many cases it was the living-room. 
It changed but little from that of the seventeenth century. 
Two views of the kitchen of the Concord Antiquarian 
Society facing page 315 and page 354 show the furniture 
and utensils common to almost every home. 

Early in the century, the mirror had a black or gilt 
frame. Sometimes the price reached a high figure, as the 
carving grew more elaborate. Towards the middle of the 
century, chimney-glasses with carved walnut or gilt frames 
ranging in value from thirty to eighty pounds are not 
uncommon. They were generally supplied with arms for 
candles. Nathaniel Cunningham (1748) owned one with 

358 



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THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

a gilt-edged walnut frame, ^120; another with walnut 
frame and brass arms, j;^37-io-o; and a third with a gilt 
frame. Some of the work was done by native carvers. A 
member of this profession was George Robinson, who left 
an estate of fifteen hundred pounds in 1737. His grand- 
daughter, Sarah Blowers, received a bequest of " my man- 
tletree sett of carved work and sconces." This was twenty 
years before Chippendale's publications could have influenced 
those engaged on this kind of carved work. 

One of the Boston carvers was a Mr. Burbeck. In the 
town records under date of January 13, 1768, we read: 

" Mr. Burbeck, who carves the capitals for Faneuil 
Hall, was sent for, when he engaged to get the carved work 
finished and put up before the latter end of next month " 
— he was at the same time told that he should have his 
pay out of the " money raised by the present lottery." 

The walls of the rooms were adorned in the best houses 
with paintings in carved, moulded and gilded frames. Black 
and japanned frames also were common. The ordinary 
homes and halls and stairways of the richer class contained 
more mezzotints than any other kind of pictures. The 
inventories rarely mention the subjects, but we gather them 
from the newspapers. In 1757 we read in the Boston 
Gazette : " Imported from London and to be sold by Na- 
thaniel Warner in Fish Street, a variety of new-fashioned 
looking-glasses and sconces, and also a variety of metzitinto 
Pictures painted on glass, double Frames, neatly carved and 
gilt, viz., the Royal Family, the Judges of England, the 
Months, the Seasons, the Elements, very handsome views 
and sea-pieces ; the Rakes and Harlot's Progress ; maps ; 
gold leaf.'' 

The more ornate picture frames were imported from 

359 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

London in most cases, because the work there could be 
done more cheaply than in Boston. Thus history ante- 
dates as well as repeats itself! In 1743, the Selectmen of 




MAHOGANY AND GILT MIRROR 
Owned b]i tbe TalcoH finiiljr, now bjr Mn. Wiinwrighr, Hartford, 



Boston wanted a frame for Smibert's portrait of Peter Fan- 
euil; they therefore wrote December 7th to Christopher 
Kilby, Esq., to the following effect: 

" We find upon inquiry that a frame for said picture can 
be got in London cheaper and better than with us, we 




JAPANNED CI,()CK 

Fr*m lie Hmmettk Hauit, Bailaa OivneJ hy Miii Ma.le hv Richai 
Lati Cnff S-wit an4 prtitr-vtJ it the Mmrum 
^ Fim drtif ButM Mail Sre fiage j/6. 



ng, IfiiT-LKh. Mosi,. 
7. ATo-iv '\» iht Eiiex InitilHlc, 
Saltm, Masi. Sii fagt ^2^. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

therefore beg the favour of you. Sir, to procure and send a 
neat gold carved frame of eight feet in length and five feet 
in width by the first -ship in as small a box as may be, as 
it will reduce the freight/' They hoped it might be 
bought for about eight guineas. 

An exceedingly handsome mirror of the period is shown 
on page 360. It is of mahogany and is profusely orna- 
mented with gilt. This belongs to Mrs. Wainwright of 
Hartford, Conn., having descended to her through the Tal- 
cott family. 

Tables are still made principally of oak and black wal- 
nut ; very rarely do we find one of ash and chestnut. Ma- 
hogany tables are very scarce for many years. There are 
many estates from 1730 to 1740 of between two and eight 
thousand pounds in which none of mahogany are recorded. 
After 1750 they are plentiful. Marble tables of diflferent 
sizes and colours are advertised in 1755; mahogany stand 
tables, 1758; marble table with mahogany frame, 1760 ; 
a neat mahogany bureau table, 1 76 1 ; and mahogany tables 
with claw feet, 1768. 

Four tables are shown facing page 318. One has al- 
ready been described on page 321. Of the four specimens 
the one in the upper left-hand corner is the handsomest. 
It was owned by Silas Deane, first minister from the United 
States to France. The top is a solid piece of mahogany, 
measuring 38^ inches in diameter. The edge is slightly 
raised. The acanthus is carved on the legs, which end. in 
dog*s feet clasping a ball. Washington, Lafayette, Rocham- 
beau and Beaumarchais are said to have taken tea upon it. 
This piece of furniture is in the rooms of the Connecticut 
Historical Society, Hartford. The table in the upper right- 
hand corner is also of mahogany, but is of smaller size 

361 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

than the one just described. It was in the wedding outfit 
of Lois Orne in 1 770. This is now in the Essex Institute, 
Salem, Mass. The table in the lower left-hand corner is 
of painted wood and a piece of iron is under each of the 
three feet. This table belonged to Nathaniel Silsbee, of 
Salem, in the early part of the eighteenth century, and is 
now in possession of his descendant, Mrs. Edward C. Pick- 
ering, Observatory, Cambridge, Mass. Another table of 
mahogany with falling leaves appears on page 379. This 
belongs to Mrs. Wainwright, Hartford, Conn.; and a square 
table owned by the Misses Burnett, at Elmwood^ Cambridge, 
faces page 368, with a dumb-waiter of mahogany, also 
owned by them. The latter frequently occurs in the in- 
ventories. 

The tea-table is present in every home that has any 
claim to comfort. In the early part of the century it is 
usually made of oak or walnut, and the japanned tea-table 
is very general until mahogany takes its place. This table 
was lower and smaller than the ordinary table, and it held 
nothing but the tea-service with which it was customary to 
keep it set. Tea-tables occur quite early. " The leaf of 
a tea-table '* that was being made by William Howell in 
1 71 7 shows that at that date it had falling leaves. The 
style changed, for in 1736 John Waldo*s tea-table, although 
worth twenty-five shillings, is described as old-fashioned. 
At that date japanned tea-tables are numerous and within 
the means of ordinary people. Fifteen shillings is enough 
for James Jackson's in 1735. The "tea-board and ftirni- 
ture ** are nearly always mentioned in company. About 
the middle of the century the India tea-table is most fash- 
ionable. One of these belonging to Peter Cunningham 
(1748) is typical of the most fashionable equipment in 

3da 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

vogue. It was set with ten china cups and saucers and five 
handle-cups, a slop-basin and plate beneath, milk-pot, tea- 
pot and plate, and a boat for spoons. The silver spoons 
and sugar tongs are classed separately among the plate, and 
exclusive of these the value of this little table and tea- 




BUFFET 
From the WUffit Hixuc, Iptwich, Man. See pigc 354. 

service amounted to the large sum of forty pounds. It will 
be noticed that ten of the cups had no handles and the five 
that had no saucers were therefore more like mugs in 
form. The tea in this instance was kept in " a shagreen 
tea-chest with silver canisters and sugar ditto, j^ioo." 
Mr. Cunningham, therefore, spared no expense on this 

J«3 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

important feature of contemporary social life, nor was he 
an exception ; a table and complete set of china from ^25 
up is quite a common item. The above articles were in 
the Great Parlour. In the Great Chamber up-stairs there 




RUSH-BOTTOM CORNER CHAIR 
From the Goodhue family. Now owned by the Essex Institute, Salem. See page 349. 

is a " tea chest with brass silvered and three pewter canis- 
ters/* besides a quantity of china, ornamental and useful. 
There is no tea-table with the service spread, because the 
guests were not entertained here, but a walnut breakfast 
table is noted, which shows that the first meal of the day 
was often taken in the sleeping apartments in wealthy 
homes. The frequent presence of so much china in the 
bedrooms of the period is thus accounted for. When ma- 

364 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

hogany prevailed, the tea-table sometimes attained much 
larger dimensions. Very small tea-tables were in use 
until long after the Revolution. 

Black chairs were in use for many years. It is strange 
to find this sombre tint such a favourite until nearly the 
middle of the century. Henry Franklin (1725) possessed 
a high-priced black chest of drawers, a black table, twelve 
black bass-bottomed chairs, black stands, a black walnut 
escritoire and a looking-glass with a black frame. This 
room, however, was exceptionally funereal. Thomas 
Walker (1726) has a turned, black glass-case, a looking- 
glass in a black frame, and a black chest of drawers nailed. 

Black was usually confined to the chairs, several varie- 
ties of which were painted or stained that hue. Some of 
those recorded are black frames, black cane, six-backed 
black, black matted, black-frame stuffed and covered. 
Straw chairs were also common during this period; the prices 
show that some kinds belonged to the better class. James 
Jackson's eight open-back chairs with straw bottoms were 
worth seven shillings each in 1735. Other chairs recorded 
before 1 740 are carved-top, flat-back, crook-back, straight- 
back, high-back and low-back leather, red leather, leather 
with banister backs, coloured cane, chairs of the same with 
the bed ; damask, slit-back, straight slat, and rush-bottom 
crooked backwards. All the kinds mentioned on page 
347 still persist, and cushions sometimes accompany those 
with rush or cane seats. Arthur Savage (j;^5,263 ; 1735) 
owned twelve cane and two elbow chairs, £^^o ; and twelve 
silk cushions, ^8; George Bethune {jC79(>27; 1736) 
had an easy chair covered with red velvet and cushion, 
^20. When the wood is mentioned, it is most frequently 
walnut. In 1736, walnut chairs with leather bottoms are 

365 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

appraised at thirty-five, and with " stuiF bottoms and calico 
cases " at twenty-five shillings each. Mahogany was not 
yet used by the Boston chair-makers. It is only just be- 
ginning to appear in the inventories. John Jekyl's fi-ont 
parlour contains a table of that wood, valued at ^£^3-10-0, 
in 1733. In 1735, Mary Walker has a dressing-box, 
worth only five shillings, japanned ; while ten pounds is 




DRESSI NG-T ABLE 
From cIk collection of ihc Wiyilde Inn, Sudbui;, Mia., owned bj Mr. Lemon. See page }6S. 

the value of one belonging to Captain John Chernock, in 
1723. The term **case" of drawers seldom occurs in the 
early Boston inventories, nor is any distinction drawn be- 
tween the high and low. However, the chest with draw- 
ers and the carved chests were now old-fashioned, and the 
new kinds stood on somewhat slender cabriole legs and were 
what are now called "high-boys" and "low-boys." Cap- 
tain John Ventiman, 1724, owns a "chest of drawers and 
tablethereto belonging, j[^ ; " and George Campbell, 1735, 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



has a "black walnut chest with 
drawers and table, £is" The 
" table thereto belonging " seems 
to be the lower part of the so- 
called " high-boy." More often 
the description of this piece of 
furniture is simply "chest of draw- 
ers and table." We have already 
had many instances of this. 
1709, it is called a "table case of 
drawers." 

The low case of drawers was 
generally used as a dressing-table, 
as some of the Boston entries dis- 
tinctly imply. In 1709, we find a 
dressing-table with drawers ; 
in 1732, Col. William Tailer 
has a table, dressing-glass and 
chest of drawers, ;^20 ; and 
in 1736, the Rev. Thomas 
Harward has a walnut dress- 
ing-table with drawers. They 
were made of mahogany, be- 
fore the latter date, for those 
who cared for that wood. A 
good example with its original 
dressing-glass, is shown on 
page 33'- This comes from 
the Warner House, Portsmouth, N. H., which was com- 
pleted in 1723. All of the furniture in this house was 
imported from England, and some of it at that date. 

Earlier and simpler styles are shown on pages 366 and 
367 




cicty. Concord, Mui 



« VH." 3". 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

367. That on page 343, belonged to Governor Dudley and 
( 1 647-1 720) now owned by the Concord Antiquarian So- 
ciety, Concord, has the plain feet, cusped front and drop brass 
handles that were already a fashion before 1700, though 
the styles lasted till long afterwards in New England fur- 
niture of somewhat simpler form. 

Another, from the Collection of the Wayside Inn, ap- 
pears on page 366, and one from the Concord Antiquarian 
Society is shown on page 367. A case of drawers that 
answers more closely to the description faces page 384. 
It is owned by Dr. James Read Chadwick, Boston, Mass, 

Japanned ware is plentiful all through this period. Be- 
sides clocks and looking-glass frames, we have tea-tables, 
" chests of drawers and table,'* tables, corner tables, waiters 
and coffee-pots. Some of these reach high prices. Not 
only black, but blue japanned ware sometimes occurs in the 
inventories: in 1730 a blue japanned looking-glass costs 
three pounds. Oriental goods are exceedingly scarce in 
the homes: quite an exception is the presence of an India 
cabinet such as belongs to Edward Lyde in 1724, 

An example of a japanned looking-glass, owned by the 
Essex Institute, faces page 326. 

It was not only on the tea-table, buffet and mantel- 
shelf that china and glass were displayed. The dressing- 
table also had its full share of ornaments of this nature. 
Captain John Welland*s hall chamber (1737) contained a 
handsome " black walnut case of drawers and table,*' and 
on it stood no fewer than fifty-five pieces of china. William 
Clarke's escritoire (1742) was even finer, and it was orna- 
mented with eight pounds' worth of china. When the 
escritoire was not surmounted by a bookcase, it was cus- 
tomary to ornament its flap top with busts, or china-ware. 

368 




MAHOGANY DL'MHWAITKR AND .S(iUARK lABLE 
OvjvJbf Ihr Miitfi Buriteil, ElmiioaJ, CnmbrUxe, Muii. SiifjgtjO^'. 



>• w « 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



The escritoire or "scree- 
tore" (which has been already 
described on page 220} in- 
creases in ornamental import- 
ance as the years pass. It is 
made of all woods, and the 
stylesare almost endless. Some 
of these announced in the 
newspapers are as follows : 
Screwtore, 1725; a beautiful 
mahogany desk and book- 
case, 1755; red cedar desk, 
1 757 ; handsome maple desk, 
1758; fine scretore, 1759; 
mahogany bureau with a 
writing table, 1762; elegant 
bookcase with glass doors, 
1768. 

The term bureau^ gener- 
ally spelt " buroe,' ' appears in 
New England about 1720. 
A "bureau desk" is among ^ 
the possessions of the deceased 
David Craigie in 172 1. It 
was valued at seventy shillings. 
In 1739, a "buroe table" 

(eleven shillings) occurs; and another in 1751 ; a "buro 
table with drawers" costs fifteen pounds in 1747. 

The desk and bookcase shown above is of appletree and 

black walnut. It was owned by Governor John Wentworth 

and was in his home on Pleasant Street, Portsmouth, N. 

H., in 1767. When his effects were confiscated, it became 

J69 




THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the property of the Rev. Samuel Haven and remained in 
his home on Pleasant Street until 1897. ^^ ^^' ^'^ ^^ 
passed to his great-grandson, Mr. Alexander H. Ladd, who 
gave it to his daughter, Elizabeth, the wife of Mr. Charles 
E. Wentworth, the great-great-grandnephew of Governor 
John Went worth. 

Another very handsome escritoire faces page 374. It 
belonged to Mr. Joseph Waters, of Salem, and is now in 
the home of his grandson, Mr. Charles R. Waters, Salem, 
Mass. This is of rich San Domingo mahogany and fur- 
nished with fine brasses. 

The chest of drawers became heavy and massive after 
the middle of the century and the larger pieces were in 
two parts, like the high cases of drawers. They were 
then called " chest-upon-chest.*' They often had orna- 
mental carved tops like the bookcases. Many varieties 
are advertised. It will be noticed that even when the 
lower part was a table with drawers, the distinction be- 
tween case and chest is not maintained. A few of these 
advertised read : " Very handsome new black walnut 
chest of drawers and table and beautiful mahogany case of 
drawers with an Ogier top and brassed off in the best 
manner," 1756; "a beautiful mahogany case of drawers 
with a compass top; ** also a " mahogany case of drawers 
with an O G top," 1757; a mahogany case of drawers 
with an arched head, 1759; a very neat black walnut 
case of drawers, 1759; a new fashion case of drawers, a 
neat mahogany case of drawers and chamber table and 
a large handsome mahogany case of drawers and table, 
1760. The great mahogany wardrobes were also being 
constructed now, for in the latter year a "large mahog- 
any clothes press with three draws " is advertised for sale. 

370 




bUJ tvilb talin •uiaed. 



MAHOGANY LIQL'OR CASE 

OwntJ by Mr. Wallir Hoimer, ffelhtnfitLi , ' 



^ V • 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

A very handsome mahogany chest-upon-chest is rep- 
resented on this page. There are nine drawers alto- 
gether, the top central one being ornamented with the 




MAH<XiAMY CHEST-UPON-CHEST OF DRAWERS 
Owned by Mn. Wiinwiight, Hutltird, Conn. 

outspread fan. The brass escutcheons are very decorative. 
This piece belonged to the Talcott family and is now 
owned by Mrs Wainwright, Hartford, Conn. Another 
example of a chest-upon-chest occurs on page 397. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The first piece is of the same period as the beautiful 
desk shown facing page 340. The latter is of rich mahog- 
any very dark in colour and is furnished with handsome 
brass escutcheons. The desk has four drawers. 

Captain John Bonner, in 1722, published "The 
Town of Boston in New England, Engraven and Printed 
by Fra: Dewing and sold by Captain Bonner and William 
Price against ye Town House." On the margin of the 
plan was printed the following: "Streets, 42 ; Lanes, 36; 
Alleys, 22; Houses, near 3,000, 1,000 Brick, the rest 
Timber; near 12,000 people.'* 

This plan helped to adorn the walls of many an entry, 
and frequently appears in the inventories as " a prospect of 
the city of Boston." 

Neal, who published his history about 1720, says: 
" Their customs and manners are much the same with the 
English: Their grand festivals are the day of the annual 
election of magistrates at Boston, and the commencement 
at Cambridge, when business is pretty much laid aside, and 
the people are as cheerful among their friends as the Eng- 
lish are at Christmas. . . 

" In the concerns of civil life, as in their dress, tables, 
and conversation, they afl?ect to be as much English as 
possible; there is no fashion in London but in three or 
four months is to be seen in Boston. In short, the only 
difl?erence between an Old and New Englishman is his re- 
ligion.'* 

Turning now to a typical home, that of Col. Wil- 
liam Tailer (;^8, 366-1 9-3; 1732), we notice that the fur- 
niture in his Hall consists of 6 elbow chairs, a dozen cane 
elbow chairs, 9 old chairs, a walnut table, a small table, 
and a teaboard and furniture; two pairs of old-fashioned 

372 




**"' 




MAHOGANY BEDSTLAD 

Wm* bmli-and-^lavi fitt and old bangingi. OwMtJ bj thi CtHctrd Antiquarian Sodilf, 
Cemeard, Matt. Set pagtjS6. 



• •• 



•"• 



, •• 



••• 






THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

andirons, tongs, and shovels show that there are two fires 
here; and there are a hammock, 6 maps, and a great deal 
of glass, including 3 dozen wine glasses. 

In the Back Parlour there are 3 tables of old oak, one 
large and one small walnut, 8 old chairs and an old clock, 
a black looking-glass, 15 old pictures on the walls, and 
china, etc., in the closet. The Bedroom has in it a bed- 
stead, which, with its furniture, is only worth ;^7-i5-o; 
an old escritoire worth £1^, two old looking-glasses, 6 
cane chairs and "6 new-fashion chairs,'' an easy chair, two 
bass bottom stools, another escritoire of walnut, also worth 
^3; an old carpet, and shovel, tongs and andirons. 

In the Best Chamber we see a table and dressing-glass 
and chest of drawers valued at ;^2o. The 6 chairs are of 
damask and there is a joint-stool. Brass andirons, etc., and 
10 pictures add brightness. The Rubb'd Chamber has a 
bedstead with damask' d curtains and a feather bed upon it 
weighing a hundred pounds. There is a handsome cabi- 
net here worth ^7, and an oak table valued at 1 3 shill- 
ings. A small looking-glass, a curtain for a field bed, 
worth ;^3-io-o, 4 alabaster pieces, valued at £2^ and 16 
pictures complete the furniture of this room. 

About 1735, John Oldmixion remarks: "The Con- 
versation of the Town of Boston is as polite as most of the 
Cities and Towns of England ; many of their merchants 
having traded into Europe and those that stayed at home 
having the advantage of society with travelers. So that a 
gentleman from London would almost think himself at 
home in Boston when he observes the numbers of people, 
their houses, their furniture, their tables, their dress and 
conversation, which, perhaps, is as splendid and showy as 
that of the most considerable tradesman in London." 

373 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

At this period, the famous Hancock House on Beacon 
Hill was being built (1737), and until it was demolished a 
few years ago, it was the last of the great mansions stand- 
ing that could show what the stately homes of old Boston 
were like. This house was built by Thomas Hancock, 
son of the Rev. John Hancock, the kitchen of whose 
house, now owned by the Lexington Historical Society, is 
shown facing page 155, and a bedroom facing page 358. 

Mr. Hancock's idea was to beautify his home without 
as well as within, and accordingly he sent to London for 
choice fruit trees, " dwarf trees and Espaliers, two or three 
dozen yew trees, hollys and jessamin,*' vines, seeds and 
tulip roots, which, however, did not thrive in the cold, 
bleak winds of Boston. In 1737, he sent for ''380 squares 
of best London crown glass, all Cutt Exactly 18 Inches 
long and 1 1 Inches wide of a Suitable Thickness to the 
Largeness of the Glass, free from Blisters and by all means 
be careful it don't wind or worp ; 1 00 Squares Ditto, 1 2 
Inches Long, Sj4 wide of the Same Goodness as above." 

On January 23, 1737—8, we find him writing from 
Boston to Mr. John Rowe, Stationer, London, as follows : 

" Sir, Inclosed you have the Dimensions of a Room for 
a Shaded Hanging to be Done after the Same Pattern I 
have sent per Capt. Tanner who will Deliver it to you. 
It's for my own House and Intreat the favour of you to Get 
it Done for me to Come Early in the Spring, or as Soon as 
the nature of the Thing will admitt. The pattern is all 
was Left of a Room Lately Come over here, and it takes 
much in ye Town and will be the only paper-hanging for 
Sale here wh. am of opinion may Answer well. There- 
fore desire you by all means to get mine well Done and 
as Cheap as Possible, and if they can make it more Beau- 

374 




MAHOGANY SECRETARY AND BOOKCASE 

Wtib trif^inal braiiei. U the btuit af Mr. Chartti R Watirt, Saltm, Man. Sit page j^o. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

tiflill by adding more Birds flying here and there, with 
Some Landskips at the Bottom, Should like it well. Let 
the Ground be the Same Colour of the Pattern. At the 
Top and Bottom was a narrow Border of about 2 Inches 
wide wh. would have to mine. About 3 or 4 Years ago 
my friend Francis Wilks, Esq., had a hanging Done in the 
Same manner but much handsomer Sent over here from 
Mr. Sam Waldon of this place, made by one Dunbar in 
Aldermanbury, where no doubt he, or some of his suc- 
cessors may be found. In the other parts of these Hang- 
ings are Great Variety of Different Sorts of Birds, Peacocks, 
Macoys, Squirril, Monkys, Fruit and Flowers, etc. But 
a Greater Variety in the above mentioned of Mr. Waldon's 
and Should be fond of having mine done by the Same 
hand if to be mett with. I design if this pleases me to 
have two Rooms more done for myself. I Think they 
are handsomer and Better than Painted hangings Done in 
Oyle, so I Beg your particular Care in procuring this for 
me, and that the patterns may be Taken Care oflF and Re- 
turned with my Goods.*' 

He is still adding to his decorations in 1740, for on 
March 22, he writes: 

" I pray the favour of you to Enquire what a pr. of 
Capitolls will cost me to be Carved in London, of the 
Corinthian Order, 16^ inches one Way and 9 y* Other, — 
and to be well Done." 

Mr. Hancock was one of those wealthy and fashionable 
citizens who was not satisfied with the ordinary articles 
made here, or even imported for general sale. He is con- 
stantly writing for furniture and table ware. For example, 
he orders, " i Box Double Flint Glass ware, 6 Quart De- 
canters, 6 Pint do., 2 doz. handsome new fash"* wine 

375 



»• ? 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Glasses, 6 pair Beakers, Sorted, all plain, 2 pr. pint Cans, 
2 pr. ^ pint do., 6 Beer Glasses, 1 2 Water Glasses, and 2 
Doz. Jelly Glasses/* 

On December 20, 1738, he sends to Mr. Wilks this 
order, which is of especial interest to us, inasmuch as the 
clock in question appears facing page 360 : 

" I Desire the favour of you to procure for me and Send 
with my Spring Goods a Handsome Chiming Clock of the 
newest fashion, — the work neat & good, with a Good Wal- 
nutt Tree Case Veneer'd work, with Dark lively branches, 
— on the Top insteed of Balls, let there be three handsome 
Carved figures. Gilt with burnished Gold. I'd have the 
Case without the figures to be 10 foot long, the price 
not to Exceed 20 Guineas, & as it's for my own use, I beg 
your particular Care in buying of it at the Cheapest Rate. 
I'm advised to apply to one Mr. Marmaduke Storr at the 
foot of Lond"* Bridge, — ^but as you are best Judge I leave 
it to you to purchase it where you think proper." 

The handsome clock facing page 360 was, in all prob- 
ability, the one selected, for upon its dial the maker's name 
reads: " Marm** Storrford of London Bridge." The case, 
however, is japanned. This clock was purchased from 
the Hancock house in 1793, by the wife of the Honoura- 
ble William Gray, of Boston, and is now owned by Miss 
Lucy Gray Swett, of Boston. It is preserved in the Mu- 
seum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

Mr. Hancock lived in the home he had built and fur- 
nished with so much pleasure until his death in 1764, 
when his nephew, John, became its proprietor. A portrait 
of the latter by John Singleton Copley hung over the 
mantelpiece in the dining-room, 17x25 feet, that was deco- 
rated with moulded panels ; and portraits of Thomas Han- 
• • • 




JAMKS HOWDOIN'S 1>K.SK 
OtvaeJ by the American Aatiquarian Secielyt H'orcriU'; Man. Sri fagt jSS. 



' b 



V If 



» ^ ^ " 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

cock and his wife, Lydia, by the same painter, also were 
upon the walls. In one of the large wings was a fine ball- 
room. 

A sideboard belonging to the above John Hancock is 
shown on this page. This piece is now in the rooms of 
the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. Its 
date is considerably later then this period. 

Another handsome home was that belonging to Edward 




MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD 

Owned by John Hjncnck, now by ih; Amcricin Anliiguiriin Socisly, WorcnKr, Mist. 

Bromfield, a prominent merchant of Boston. According 
to an authority, the Bromfield House, built in 1722, "was 
of three stories, and richly furnished according to the fashion 
of the last century. There were large mirrors in carved 
mahogany frames with gilt mouldings ; and one apartment 
was hung with tapestry representing a stag hunt. Three 
steep flights of stone steps ascended from Beacon Street to 
the fi-ont of the mansion ; and behind it was a paved court- 
yard above which rose successive terraces filled with flow- 
ers and fruit trees." 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

And still another famous mansion was that belonging 
to the celebrated Sir Charles Henry Frankland, famous for 
his romance with Agnes Surriage. His Boston house " was 
built of brick, three stories high and contained in all 
twenty-six rooms. A spacious hall ran through the centre, 
from which arose a flight of stairs so broad and easy of 
ascent that Frankland used to ride his pony up and down 
with ease and safety. The parlours were ornamented with 
fluted columns, elaborately carved, and richly gilded pilas- 
ters and cornices; the walls were wainscotted and the 
panels embellished with beautiful landscape scenery; the 
mantelpieces were of Italian marble and the fireplaces of 
the finest porcelain, which exhibited views of singular ex- 
cellence. The floor of the eastern parlours was laid in 
diamond-shaped figures, and had in the centre a unique and 
curious tessellated design, consisting, it is said, of more than 
three hundred kinds of wood, as mahogany, ebony, satin- 
wood, etc., encircling the coat of arms of the Clarke 
family.*' 

Mrs. Mary Blair died in 1738 with a personalty of 
^28,232-15-10. Her furniture is elegant and costly. 
Her Front Lower Room is evidently warmed by two fires, 
for there are two pairs of dogs, one of brass, the other 
small with brass heads; the windows are shaded with 
" blinders," and at night the candles, held in two pairs of 
elegant sconces and in an old-fashioned standing candle- 
stick, furnish light. There are twelve cane chairs valued 
at two pounds each, with an expensive couch and squab to 
match, an oval walnut table, a small tea table, and a clock 
and case worth j[4-o. In the " bofett " she has quite a 
collection of china. (Seepage 353.) 

In the Middle Room, we find three tables, oval, 

378 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

smaller oak oval, and small mahogany ; there are twelve 
red leather chairs and a " two armed chair ; " a looking- 
glass ; a pair of small gilt sconces, a " scrutore for decan- 
ters," a " smaller do., with handles," glass candlesticks, and 
much china. 

Five maps hang in the " outer entry," while in the 
** inner entry " we find a glass lantern, three pictures in 




TABLE WITH FALLING LEAVES 
Ownnl bj Mn. WaiDwrighi, Hiitfonl, Conn. See page ]6t. 

gilt frames, nine large maps, and a pair of leather buckets. 

There are four bedrooms. In one is a green silk bed 
with satin quilt, feather bed and sacking-bottom bedstead, 
valued at ;^i20; a handsome looking-glass; a dressing- 
table ; ten cane chairs and two elbow cane chairs ; and brass 
hearth ware. 

" A clouded stuff bed " with chintz quilt lined with 
silk, cotton counterpane, feather bed, two pillows, bolster 
and sacking-bottom bedstead, stands in the " Middle Cham- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ber/' A chest of drawers with twenty-three pieces of 
china upon it, a table and dressing-box, seven cane, two 
leather, two broken and two armed chairs, constitute the 
other furniture. There are brass andirons, etc., ten pictures 
in gilt frames, and two portraits of Prince George and 
Queen Anne in gilt frames. 

Two laced beds are in the Front Upper Chamber, which 
also contains a large Holland tea-table, a chest of drawers, 
twelve old Turkey-work and four cane chairs, four pictures, 
a looking-glass, and a pair of large blankets. 

In the upper Chamber over the shop, there are a bed- 
stead and bed, a chest of drawers, a Holland table, an old 
trunk, five other trunks, one of which is sealskin, a second 
bedstead with sacking-bottom, a looking-glass and thirty- 
nine dozen bottles. 

A tea-table, two folding-boards, and two bass-bottom 
chairs are in the kitchen. The shop is filled with dry-goods, 
and Mrs. Blair owns plate valued at ;^432-i 5-7 J^ . 

Cases with bottles, numbering from six to a dozen, oc- 
cur very often in the inventories. A handsome liquor case 
of mahogany, inlaid with satinwood, faces page 370. It 
is equipped with crystal bottles. This belongs to Mr. 
Walter Hosmer, Wethefsfield, Conn. 

When Peter Faneuil succeeded to his uncle^s fortune 
in 1738 and became lord of the sumptuous house on Bea- 
con and Somerset Streets, Boston, he sent almost immedi- 
ately to Lane and Smithurst, of London, for " a handsome 
chariot with two sets of harness with the arms as enclosed 
on the same in the handsomest manner." 

The wealthy Boston merchant writes for glass and 
china and orders "silver spoons and forks with three 
prongs"; these he wants engraved with the Faneuil arms, 

380 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

and says: "Let them be very neat and handsome." He 
also sends for candlesticks, which he wishes " very neatly 
made and by the best workmen ; let my arms be engraved 
on each of them and let them be sent me by my brother ; '* 
and in order to insure the size of the candlestick, he sends 
a piece of wax candle as a sample. Another piece of silver 
that he orders is a punch bowl "to hold from six quarts 
to two gallons and made after the newest fashion with the 
family crest on it.'* 

" Six lignum- vitae chocolate cups lined with silver " is 
another order sent to London. At his death these were 
valued at ^3. 

Lane and Smithurst soon have another demand, this 
time for " a copper warming-pan and half a dozen largest 
and best white blankets for the best chamber, with pud- 
ding pans for the kitchen;" and for use in the latter he 
sends for " the latest best book of the several sorts of cook- 
ery, which pray let be of the largest character for the ben- 
efit of the maids' reading." 

His tablecloths and napkins are made especially for him 
by John Cossart & Sons of France. 

The following letter addressed to John Caswell shows 
that Faneuil occasionally studied economy even if he was 
anxious to keep up with the latest European fashions. He 
writes : " This asks the favour of you when you arrive in Lon- 
don to dispose of a dozen silver knife and fork handles of 
mine, wch. you have therewith, for my best advantage and 
procure for me a shogreen case with a dozen of new knives 
and forks of a handsome silver handle and the best blades 
you can get made in London, for my own use, with room 
in the case for a dozen of spoons, the same size and fashion 
with one sent also by you for a pattern. Pray let the case 

381 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

be the same with that Mr. Baker sent me lined with a red 
velvet, wch. stands in my dining room. As for the blades 
of the old knives, I shall be glad to have them made into 
Oyster Knives, wch. may be easily done, being shortened 
and ground down.'' 

The furniture of Mr. Faneuil's house was of the most 
expensive description. One room contained a table at 
twenty, and twelve carved veneered chairs and a couch at 
one hundred and five pounds. A large pier-glass with 
candle-brackets and a chimney glass with the same came 
to more than ;^i 50. The floor was covered with a large 
Turkey carpet and the hearth was garnished with fine brass 
dogs, tongs, shovels and bellows. 

The next room was furnished with twelve plain wal- 
nut-frame, leather-bottom chairs ; a mahogany and a mar- 
ble table ; an eight-day walnut-case clock ; a copper tea- 
table, eight cups and saucers, teapot stand, bowl and sugar 
dish; three alabaster stands with bowls ; about j[2oo worth 
of Delft ware, china and glass; a chimney-glass, a glass 
sconce with arms and seven others smaller ; and brass 
hearth furnishings. On the walls were "four mezzotinto 
pieces and one other sort, a prospect of Boston, two land- 
skips on copper and the Temple of Solomon." 

In the entry were twelve fire buckets and a large lan- 
tern. 

The hall, staircase and other apartments were adorned 
with about two hundred and fifty pictures, the only sub- 
jects mentioned being Alexander's Battles and Erasmus. 

Mr. Faneuil's bedroom contained a bedstead with 
feather bed and mattress, and two green silk quilts. The 
bed-curtains as well as the window-curtains were of green 
harrateen. Between the windows was a pier-glass ; and a 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

chimney glass and three elaborate sconces with arms gave 
light and brilliance to the apartment. A Turkey carpet was 
on the floor, and brass dogs and fire irons garnished the 
hearth. A bureau-table, twelve chairs and a couch, and a 
dressing-glass and drawers rendered the room thoroughly 




MAHOOAKY BBDSTBAD WITH GILT ORNAMENTS 
In IIm houK of Mr. Chiria K. Wacen, Salem, Mul See page 3S6. 



comfortable. The owner's toilet-set comprised a case with 
six razors, strop and hone, a pair of scissors, penknife, two 
bottles and a looking-glass, all silver-mounted. His shav- 
ing bason of silver weighed 27^ oz. and was worth 
^£'40-16-0. 

Yellow was the prevailing hue of another bedroom. 
There was a yellow mohair bed with counterpane and cur- 
383 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

tains, six chairs, one great chair, two stools, window-cush- 
ions and curtains all of the same material. The other fur- 
niture consisted of a fine desk and bookcase with glass 
doors, dressing-table and glass, chimney-glass and sconces 
and brass hearthware. 

A third bedchamber contained a mahogany bedstead 
with worked fustian curtains lined with green damask, a 
Turkey-work and a small leather carpet, six cane chairs 
and two armchairs, a chamber table, Dutch press (evidently 
a ias^, English walnut desk, chimney glass, sconce with 
arms and brass andirons and fire irons. 

A mahogany field-bed with chintz curtains and china 
window curtains ; a mahogany bedstead with blue harra- 
teen bed and window-curtains and silk and purple silk 
quilts, and a red harrateen bed with material sufficient to 
complete the window-curtains furnished other rooms in 
which we also find a Greek screen, marble oval octagon 
table, twenty-four cane chairs, clothes press, couch, 
sconces, Turkey-work and other carpets, painted canvas 
for floors of rooms and entry, and brass chimney-ware in 
every room. The household linen, some of which as we 
have seen was made in France, was worth j[2^o; books, 
j^ioo; and copper and pewter utensils, ;^i8i. In the 
counting-house was a clock, two nests or cases for papers 
and one for books, a large writing-desk, two leaden stan- 
dishes, six leather chairs, a small looking-glass, an iron 
cover for the fire and the usual andirons. He also owned 
"a parcel of Jewells," valued at ^1490-10, and 1400 oz. 
of plate amounting to ^^2 122-10. When he died in 1742; 
his estate was valued at ^^44,451 -15-7. 

The handsome house, the interior of which we have 
just described, was a solid square structure, standing in a 

384 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




CHAIR USED BY JOHN ADAMS 

Now in ibc coUcciion of the Wiyiide Inn, Sudbury, Miis., owned by Mr. Lemon, 

S« pigc 386. 



garden of seven acres. This was known as the " Eden of 
Beauty," where were cultivated hothouse flowers and tropi- 
cal fruits and some simple and sweet old-fashioned garden 
flowers imported from France by Andrew Faneuil to 
awaken memories of his early home. 

Mr. Faneuil's beds were particularly handsome, but it 

3>5 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

was not uncommon to find ornate beds in the homes of 
the wealthy. On page 3 8 3 is represented a highly decora- 
tive bedstead, of mahogany, the tester of which is elabo- 
rately carved and decorated with gilt. This is in the home 
of Mr. Charles R. Waters, Salem, Mass. Another ma- 
hogany bedstead, with ball-and-claw feet, faces page 372. 
This is owned by the Concord Antiquarian Society, and is 
furnished with old brown hangings in the style of tapestry. 

It is singular to find John Adams taking interest in 
house decorations, yet he notes in his Diary (1766) : 

" Dined at Mr. Nick Boylston's — ^an elegant dinner 
indeed. Went over the house to view his furniture, which 
alone cost a thousand pounds sterling. A seat it is for a 
nobleman, a prince. The Turkey carpets, the painted 
hangings, the rich beds with crimson damask curtains and 
counterpanes, the beautiful chimney clock, the spacious 
garden, are the most magnificent of anything I have ever 



seen.*' 



A chair that belonged to John Adams appears on page 
385. It is of a style derived from the past century and 
was probably originally covered with cane. This is owned 
by Mr. Lemon, at the Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Mass. 

Still stranger is it to find his kinsman ambitious to have 
a handsome home. Again John Adams writes in his 
Diary (1772) : 

" Spent this evening with Mr. Samuel Adams at his 
house. Had much conversation about the state of afiairs. 
Cushing, Phillips, Hancock, Hawley, Gerry, Hutchinson, 
Sewall, Quincy, etc. Adams was more cool, genteel and 
agreeable than common ; concealed and retained his pas- 
sions, etc. He affects to despise riches, and not to dread 
poverty ; but no man is more ambitious of entertaining his 

386 




ot 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

friends handsomely, or of making a decent, an elegant ap- 
pearance than he. He has lately new-covered and glazed 
his house, and painted it very neatly, and has new papered, 
painted, and furnished his rooms ; so that you visit at a 
very genteel house, and are very politely received and enter- 
tained." 

Nathaniel Rogers, of Boston (1770), with an estate of 
^3,730-1 7-1 1 , has a typical and comfortable home. Each 
of the five principal rooms contains an abundance of ma- 
hogany. Upon the floor of the East Front Room is a large 
carpet. Before the fire, burning upon a pair of princess 
metal andirons, is a two-leaf fire-screen. There are a large 
mahogany square table (;^3), two great mahogany chairs, 
twenty-four shillings each, and " twelve mahogany Marlboro 
chairs" (^^i 0-16-0); upon a small square mahogany table 
(^i-io-o) stands a tea-kettle and lamp, and among the 
miscellaneous articles was a painted sugar-cannister. 

In the West Front Room there was a sofa covered with 
black horsehair and two squabs worth ^8 ; eight ma- 
hogany chairs with crimson damask bottoms worth ;^i i- 
4-0, a lolling chair lined with leather, a Turkey floor 
cloth, a mahogany case of drawers valued at ^4-10-0 ; a 
square four-foot mahogany table, a round mahogany tea- 
table, a mahogany stand, a pair " prince metal " andirons, 
steel shovel, tongs, and chimney hooks, a looking-glass 
with gilt frame, three pictures under glass, and the two 
blue and white window curtains. There was a great deal 
of glass and china in this room, including a valuable set of 
enamelled china; and there were four cases of knives and 
forks and spoons, three being of shagreen and one of ma- 
hogany. 

The four-post bedstead, with calico curtains, stands in 

387 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the West Front Chamber, besides which is a "bedside 
carpet;" an old carpet lies also on the floor. There are 
six mahogany chairs with hair bottoms {jC(>), an easy 
chair and case, a dressing-glass, a chest of drawers, a black 
walnut desk, and a chest of drawers of the same wood. 
The curtains at the windows matched those of the bed. 
Andirons and a small picture completed the furniture of 
this room. 

A four-post mahogany bed and a crimson moreen bed 
are found in the East Front Chamber. Four copper-plate 
window curtains soften the light ; a small carpet lies on the 
floor, and another at the entry to the chamber. The rest 
of the furniture consists of a " buro table," a wash-stand, a 
dressing-glass, six chairs and a close stool with two arms — 
all of mahogany. 

The bedstead in the Back Chamber is green. The 
furniture here is somewhat simpler than in the other rooms. 
The five chairs have straw bottoms; the case of drawers 
is of pine. There are a small painted pine table, a wicker 
basket and two carpets. 

A four-post bedstead is the chief piece in the Upper 
Chamber. The Study contains two hundred and eighty- 
three volumes. There is a book-case here, a small painted 
chest, a table, a picture painted on board, four small pictures 
and a map, and a great deal of linen and wearing apparel is 
kept in this room. 

The desk that faces page 376 belonged to James Bow- 
doin. Governor of Massachusetts in 1785—86. It is simple 
and must have originally been furnished with brass handles. 
Upon the flap that lets down is a sharply pointed inlaid 
star. This piece is owned by the American Antiquarian 
Society, Worcester, Mass. 

388 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Card-playing was largely indulged in ; even the Boston 
clergy did not despise it. The Rev. Thomas Harward 
has an early mahogany card-table in 1736. James 
Jackson has one of the same wood a year earlier. They 
must have varied greatly in workmanship, for in 1733 John 
Jekyl has one card-table at twelve shillings, and another of 
black walnut at £6. The latter costs more than twice as 
much as either of the mahogany ones above mentioned. 
They were generally square, but sometimes round and tri- 
angular. In 1722, Peter Cutler's shop goods include a 
round card-table, thirteen shillings. A handsome mahog- 
any card-table with five legs, belonging to Mrs. John 
Marshall Holcombe, Hartford, Conn., faces page 384. 
A similar specimen appears on page 309. Cards fre- 
quently occur in the inventories. Fifty dozen packs be- 
longed to James Lyndell in 1720. A shilling a pack was 
the price. They also appear frequently among the ad- 
vertised importations. 

We have seen that music was somewhat cultivated in 
New England during the seventeenth century. The oc- 
casional advertisements of instruments offered at public 
vendue and special advertisements show that they were 
constantly imported. For instance, Gilbert Deblois at the 
Crown and Comb, Queen Street, Boston, has some " good 
violins, English and German flutes, bows, bridges, pins, and 
best Roman violin strings, with setts for violoncello '* 
(1756). In 1757 " a beautiful sett of virginals '* is oflFered 
for sale, and in the next year, " a most curious neat cham- 
ber organ in a mahogany case and frame on castors, pipes 
gilt, with two additional barrels." In 1772 "a neat desk 
chamber organ ** is to be sold " cheap at Mr. McLane's, 
Watchmaker, on the North side of the Town House.** 

389 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

** A six-string bass viol for a girl with its case ** is adver- 
tised in Boston ,in 1 764, together with " hautboys and reeds, 
fiddles, a tenor violin, fiddle bows, bridges, strings and 
music-books/* Harpsichords frequently appear, showing 
that the virginals were giving place to the forerunner of 
the pianoforte. A harpsichord made by Samuel Blyth of 
Salem faces page 386. In this instrument each key is 
set in motion by two wire strings. It is now in the Essex 
Institute, Salem. 

Joiners, turners, carvers, upholsterers, varnishers, clock- 
makers and cabinet-makers existed in considerable num- 
bers in Boston, and, if carpenters and housewrights are al- 
so taken into account, we have a list of some local crafts- 
men to whose labours a great deal of furniture owed its 
origin. Most of these were men of small estate, and, at 
their death, little was found in their shops either in rough 
timber or cabinet-ware. A partial chronological list of 
joiners includes Samuel Chough, 1 707 ; Thomas Liver- 
more, 1 710; Jacob Feruside, 171 6; John Cunnabel, 1724; 
Thomas Webb, 1728; Peter Gibbons, 1729; Daniel Bal- 
lard, 1741 ; John Stevens, 1745; Edward Wild, 1750; 
Ebenezer Clough, 1751 ; and John Adams, 1758. Then 
we have Edward Budd, 1710, and George Robinson, 
1737, carvers; Matthias Smith, turner, 1714; William 
Howell, 1 71 7, and John Pimm, 1773, cabinetmakers; 
Benjamin Davis, 171 8, and George Burrill, 1721, chair- 
makers; Thomas Bodeley, clockmaker, 1720; Joseph 
Hill, varnisher, 1723 ; William Downe, 1753, and Joseph 
Gale, 1744, upholsterers. 

The close scrutiny kept upon new arrivals by the town 
authorities was still maintained. In 171 7, Joshua Tucker, 
a turner, and Samuel GifFord, a London upholsterer, ar- 

390 




SIX-LEGGED HIGH CASE OF DRAWERS 

from tbe Whiff it Houst, Ifiivirh, Man. See page J4J. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

rived from England : they were both warned to depart. 
In 1739, James Murphy, a mariner and joiner, arrived 
from Newfoundland ; and, about the same date, Theophilus 
Shove received permission to open a shop. On January 2, 
1744, "James Atkinson, watchmaker from London, ap- 
peared and desired to open a shop in this town which is 
here granted, he having brought with him upwards of 
jC^oo sterling and being a gentleman of a good character.^' 
Character and means were, therefore, the qualifications 
for admission. 

By far the majority of joiners and cabinet-makers kept 
no stock in trade ; theirs was all bespoke work. Even 
the rich shopkeepers rarely had any cabinet-ware in stock- 
Abraham Francis, who died in 1720, worth ^2,658-12-0, 
may be selected as a fair example. His warehouse con- 
tained no furniture for sale, except two new chests of draw- 
ers valued at £15. 

William Howell was capable of doing the finer kinds 
of cabinet work, but his estate amounted to no more than 
^^73-5-10, and the only evidence of work among his pos- 
sessions consisted of walnut veneer, ^^8-18-7; a leaf of a 
tea-table, £o-j-6 \ a clock and head-case, ^^ 17-6-3; and 
twelve pillars for a chest of drawers, j;^o-9-o. An entry 
in Samuel Sewall's diary reads; "August 3, 171 4. John 
Cunable takes measure for a window in my wive's Bed- 
chamber to the North-east, because of so many buildings 
darkening us to the South-west. August 4th, Howell, the 
Cabinet-maker, takes down the closet that stands in the 
corner to make way for the window.'* We have already 
seen that the joiners and cabinet-makers of the day were 
also glaziers, and the above extract shows that labour was 
not specialized in these various branches. 

39« 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The native joiners were evidently still making furni- 
ture with the old black applied ornaments and black knob- 
handles. Howell's ** twelve pillars'* were probably of this 
nature, and in that case their relatively high price warrants 
the supposition that they may have been of ebony. It is 
plain that the use of brass, instead of black wood for relief 
and contrast of colour, was not the rule yet in the ordinary 
home, since that metal often receives special mention when 
it occurs. Thus, in 1 7 1 o, the appraiser notes a " chest of 
drawers with brasses, ^{^4-1 0-0," belonging to Elisha Webb 
of Charlestown. 

The widow of Sir William Phipps married Peter Ser- 
geant, Esq., who died in 1714. The latter seems to have 
been engaged in some branch of this business. His per- 
sonalty included fifty red cedar boards, 3,290 feet of dia- 
mond-cut glass, 600 feet squares, a large beam and an ebony 
post. The latter was valued at ten shillings, and its pres- 
ence shows that it was possible to use real ebony in the 
applied ornaments and inlays of the old styles of furniture 
that the new had not yet entirely supplanted. 

The corner chair, painted white with mat bottom, 
shown on page 393 and belonging to the Worcester So- 
ciety of Antiquity, was originally the property of Benjamin 
Vassal, and may have been made by him, for he was a 
cabinet-maker by trade. He was born in 1742 and died 
in 1828. At the beginning of the Revolution, he took up 
arms and served in the American army until the close of 
the war, He became first lieutenant. In 1780 he lived 
in Charlton, and in 1 8 1 7 in Oxford, Mass. It is thought 
that he was a native of Scituate, Mass. 

During the first half of the century, it will have been 
noticed that the set of cane or other chairs in the dining- 

391 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

room or parlour is nearly always accompanied by the " couch 
and squab." The settee also assumes prominence with the 
advent of mahogany. Fine examples of the latter will be 
reproduced in the Chippendale chapter. A quaint settee 
with openwork back in the Chinese taste, of native make. 




CORNER CHAIR 

'ned by Ihe Worcatei 



Society of Antii;uity, WonoMr, Mtm. 



is given on page 394. It was originally in the Brattle 
Street Church, Boston, and is now owned by the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, Boston. 

The chairs made by the native chair-makers were prin- 
cipally of the cheaper kinds. The only material owned by 
George Burrill (1721) was about seven pounds' worth of 
" timber and flags." 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Peter Gibbon {1729) has a " chest of drawers not fin- 
ished " in his shop, but nothing else. Edward Weld's shop 
{1751) contained only two boxes, a writing-desk, two bed- 
steads, a frame of a table and a frame of a case of drawers. 
These totalled only sixteen shillings in all. In the shop 
chamber there was some walnut and pine timber, and 




SETTEE FROM THE BRATTLE STREET CHURCH, BOSTON 
How owned by the Musuchuum Hinoricil Society, B»ton. See pige 39]. 

some refuse boards. Daniel Ballard (1741), whose estate 
amounted to nearly ^^1,500, had a large stock of upholst- 
ery goods worth ;^38o, and almost ;^ioo worth of boards, 
mouldings, panels, etc., but no cabinet work finished or in 
course of construction. 

The upholsterers sometimes had chairs, sofas and beds 
for sale. Thomas Baxter's stock {1751) included various 
stuffs used for coverings, webbing, bed-ticks, couch-bot- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

toms, suits of curtains, braid and binding, tassels and fringe, 
blankets, counterpanes and coverlids. One suit of harra- 
teen curtains came to £^^i ; £^z^ is also set down to wood- 
work for a bed. This is so far above the average price of 
bedsteads that this one must have been richly carved. As 
a rule, about ninety per cent, of the cost of a bed is due to 




CHERRY CHEST OF DRAWERS 

S. Grant, Ejh., Enfield, Conn. Sec page J37. 

the feather bedding and hangings and coverings. Twenty- 
nine chairs, worth j^8o-io-o, are also among Mr. Baxter's 
goods. These again are unusually expensive. 

Black walnut was the favourite wood for chair frames 
until quite late in our period, and mahogany never entirely 
supplanted it. The carved frames of all the new designs 
as they arose were executed in this timber and they were 
upholstered with almost an infinite variety of materials. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The walnut frames were more frequently seated with 
leather and fine cane than with anything else all through 
this period. Walnut backs with rush bottoms occur, and 
these are by no means cheap. The Turkey-work chair 
lasts till surprisingly late. 

The above kinds were all made by native workers. 




CURNER CHAIR OWNED BY DANIEL BLISS (1756) AND TWO CHAIRS MADE BY 

JOSEPH HOSMER (CABINET-MAKERS) 

Owned by the Concord Antiquaiian Society, Concord. See pigi 398. 



Although no mahogany furniture appears in the shops of 
any of the above named makers, we know that they used 
that wood to some extent. Among other evidence on this 
point is an advertisement in 1741 that a parcel of mahog- 
any planks is to be sold by Nathaniel Cunningham at 
Belcher's Wharf; and Robert Stidman's goods {1751) in- 
clude 859 feet of mahogany. This was valued at the high 
figure of five shillings and sixpence per foot. Such sales 
were frequent in New York at this period (see page 285). 
39* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




MAPl-E CHEST-U PON-CHEST OF DRAWERS 
Fhmd (ht Bannitter fimilj'j now owned ij the Newburypon Hiiiorical Society, Newbu 



About that date, maple begins to be employed much 
more frequently in native work than hitherto. Some of 
the maple furniture recorded between 1740 and 1770 com- 
prises tables, bedsteads, desks and bookcases, round chairs, 
chest of drawers and table, round tea-table, couch, and 
chairs with flag and leather bottoms. Generally the maple 
furniture is cheaper than the black walnut, but sometimes 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

carving rendered it expensive. In 1749, one set of six 
chairs with flag bottoms amounts to twelve pounds. In 
1762, nine with rush bottoms cost only a shilling each. 
Cherry is quite scarce ; in 1 749 Mr. Nathaniel Martyn 
owns a desk of that wood that is appraised at fifteen 
pounds. Birch is occasionally met with. Six black birch 
chairs come to eight pounds in 1 75 1 . 

A chest-upon-chest of maple appears on page 397. 
The bottom chest has a swell front, and the legs are slightly 
bombe. This piece belonged to the Bannister family and 
is now in the rooms of the Newburyport Historical Soci- 
ety. It is probably of native workmanship, as is the six- 
legged case of drawers facing page 390. 

It is somewhat remarkable that none of the native 
makers whose names we have cited should have advertised 
in the papers as their brethren in New York did. The 
furniture that is advertised cither comes under the hammer 
at the decease or departure of the owner, or else has lately 
been imported. The importations after 1750 largely in- 
creased. In October, 1 767, at a public meeting in Faneuil 
Hall, it was declared that "the excessive use of Foreign 
Superfluities is the chief cause of the distressed state of this 
town; '* means were to be taken to lessen the use of a list 
of imports including household furniture, clocks and 
watches. 

Two chairs made by a native cabinet-maker, Joseph 
Hosmer, are represented on page 396 with a corner chair 
that belonged to Daniel Bliss (1756). These two rush- 
bottom chairs differ greatly in the shape and ornamentation 
of their backs. Another chair, a Windsor, of the kind 
called " comb back,*' facing page 370 was made in all 
probability by a local workman. It was used by Ezra 

398 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Ripley as a writing-chair and subsequently by Nathaniel 
Hawthorne. All four of these specimens are owned by 
the Concord Antiquarian Society, Concord. 

Besides the best timber, all the mounts and fittings 
necessary for the production of the most fashionable cabinet- 
ware of the day were on sale in the shops of the native bra- 
ziers. One of the latter was Jonathan Jackson, who left an 
estate of more than eight thousand pounds sterling in 1 736. 
Besides desk and chest hinges and locks, his supplies for 
local cabinet-makers included one hundred and twenty- 
three dozen drops that varied in cost from eight and a half 
to thirteen and a half pence per dozen. The brass escut- 
cheons that accompanied them varied from nine to twenty- 
three pence per dozen. There were also twenty dozen 
brass handles from twenty-seven to thirty-four pence per 
dozen. The handles thus cost twice as much as the drops. 
Among this brazier's native wares, it is noticeable that 
there are no brass furniture fittings. The prices are given 
in sterling money which, at that date, was six times the 
value of old tenor. Mr. Jackson's widow, Mary, and 
son, William, kept on the business. In 1756, they live 
at the Brazen Head, in Cornhill, and advertise the fol- 
lowing importations from London and Bristol : " All sorts 
of hardware, door locks and hinges, desk and bookcase 
furniture, viz., handles and escutcheons of various sorts, 
desk and bookcase locks, desk buttons, clock case hinges, 
furniture for tea chests, brass and iron table ketches, 
London glue, brass and iron desk hinges.'* 

Two years later, Edward Jackson, another member of 
the family, also a brazier, died worth nearly six thousand 
pounds. Included in his stock were neat polished brass 
handles at three shillings, and suitable escutcheons at eighteen 

399 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

pence per dozen ; about one-hundred-and-seventy thousand 
Rosehead nails for chairs ; eighty-four dozen solid drops 
and half as many escutcheons ; other brass handles and 
" bright " and brass desk hinges. The brazier's trade 
seems to have been very profitable, for we find another 
widow, Mrs. Sarah Dolbear, who carried on her hus- 
band's business, and died worth ^^30,000. The shop con- 
tained hollow brass ring drops, and solid drops with 
wires ; brass escutcheons, common brass handles (worth 
slightly more than the sold drop) ; complete sets of desk 
and bookcase furnishings ; iron desk locks and hinges ; and 
brass chair nails with long shanks, at four shillings per 
thousand. Some of the desk and bookcase mounts cost ten 
shillings, and others ^i per set. From this we gather 
that the old " drops " were being supplanted in public 
favour by handles of new designs, and that the conventional 
Tudor rose, that has been such a fevourite decorative feature 
in the old carved oak, was now repeated in brass along the 
edges of the chair seats. 



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THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR ^^^ 

FOR&FATHERS 




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CARVKD KBONY CABINET 

OiK-mJ hy Mrs. Chh r. Smith, SmithtoiK-n, /.. /. S,e fagt 4r6. 



COPYRIGHT, 1 901, BY 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO. 

OCTOBER, 1 901 




CONTENTS 

BoULLE AND HiS FURNITURE . . . 403-408 

Cardinal Mazarin's sumptuous furniture, 403-4; precious 
metals and gilded wood, 404; the Gobelin Manufactory, 404— 
5 ; characteristics of Boulle, 405-6 ; " old Boulle " and "new 
Boulle," 406-7; examples, 408. 

Transitional Periods of Style . . 408-409 

Famous Designers ..... 410—414 

Philiben de I'Orme, Mathurin Jousse, Jean Beraiii, Jean Le 
Pautre, Daniel Marot and Sir Christopher Wren, 410-12; be- 
ginnings of the china-mania, 412 ; Sir William Kent, 412-14. 

Introduction of Oriential Goods into Europe 

4 I 4-4 I 6 

The Use of Porcelain in Decoration . 416—419 

Brackets and chimney-pieces, 416-17 ; Marot's great use of 
china, 417; room described by Addison, 418; Defoe on China, 
419. 

The Chinese Fad ..... 419-420 

Sir William Chambers, 419; early publications of Chinese de- 
signs, 420. 

The Gothic Revival .... 421-425 

John Evelyn on Gothic art, 421 ; gardens with Gothic ruins 
and shell-work, 421-22; Batty Langley, Ware, Mrs. Delany 
and Horace Walpole, 422—5. 

Batty Langley on Cabinet-Makers . 425-428 



CONTENTS 

French Design under the Regent and Louis XV. 

428-432 
Use of Chinese motives, 428 i Cochin's satire, 429— 3 1; art 
during the Regency, 431 ; roeaiiU^ ^^l ; decorative ornaments, 
431-2. 

Chippendale ...... 432-450 

Chippendale a generic name, 432; Chippendale's book, 433; 
life of Chippendale, 433-4; Sheraton on Chippendale, Ince 
and Mayhew, and Heppelwhite, 435—7 ; Geoi^e Smith on 
cabinet-makers and Chippendale, 437—8; Matthias Darly, 
441-2; Chippendale's preface, 442-3-, favourite designs, 444J 
Chippendale, the carver, gilder and decorator, 445-8 ; indebt- 
edness to Meissonier, 449-50. 

Carving and Carvers .... 450-452 

Chippendale Furniture .... 452-464 

Difference between " Chippendale furniture " and the designs 
in his book, 452— 4; Chinese and Gothic designs, 455; chairs, 
456; examples, 458—64. 

The Adam Brothers .... 464-469 

The Adam style, 465; Adam ornaments, 465-6; Adam de- 
signs, 467-8 i the Adam style in America, 468-9. 

Heppelwhite ...... 469-476 

Heppelwhite on English furniture, 469-70; characteristics of 
Heppelwhite, 471-2; examples, 472; the Heppelwhite side- 
board, 473-6 J decline of Heppelwhite, 476. 

Sheraton 476-484 

Obituary of Sheraton, 476-7 jShcraton's book, 477-8; charac- 
teristics, 478; typical drawing-room, 478-80; dining-parlour, 
480; Sheraton on the dome, 481 ; beds and sofas, 482; work- 
tables and chairs, 482-4. 




ist of Illustrations 



WITH CRITICAL NOTES ON MANV OF 
THE PLATES BY RUSSELL STURGIS 



Frontispiece: Carved Ebony Cabinet facing 

Thij maniye piece ofcirved ebonj was brought from China indis fan of a migniflcenl col- 
lection of ChlneK liimiture thit was got rogether by Mr. Caleb T. Smith during ha roi- 
dence at Canton ^m l8;o to 1E70. Every piece came from ibe house of some min- 
datin of high tank. The pttMnc piece belonged to one Houqua, The other pieca 
comprse 1 large round centre table, two sofas, two armchaiis, sii high-back chain, two 
high sands with antique bionics, Cwo low sQnds and various other articles. When the 
lie was told by experienced American tabinet- 



Omating in that it g( 
ttenlh century. Tl 
and was brought in 1 

BouLLE Table 



'cpair^ made up 
e no insttumen 
ch is like 



I of fine 



ine. The form of this piece of fumituie is curiously jn- 
resembles the dreat/iri and lirery cupboards of the seven- 
displayed upon the ihelves is of the very chotcot varietk*. 



Uc table, the inlay of tc 
T, and a richly coloured stained veneer 
impleted by very rich gilded bronie ap| 
Eculiar richness. It is probable that aj 
IP of tome well-known worker in bnti 



FACING 403 

metallic alloy resembling German 
rhe elaborateness of the veneering 
It the heads of the four legs being 



BouLLE Secretary and Cabinet 

Writing-desk with cabinet above, of whii 



of the rdgn of Louis XIV. R. Stutgn. 

FACING 406 



Che very beautiliil and delic 

BouLLE Cabinet 



of that Boulle work w 
glories of the reign of Louis XIV. 
ie appliqud seem to be hardly of the s 
[ of the inlays. R. Sturps. 



FACING 408 



Cabinet with richly carved open stand, the body contaiiiing tea DnaO drawers and a central 
tabioet opening with doors, and a gallery of unusual height and prominence. This piece 
Is in many ways unusual in design, for, although the •epanti parts are fimiliar, thni com- 
blnalioa is surprising and yet agreeably so, for the general proportions are extremely good. 
There is no BouUe work properly so-caUed in the piece before us, but the rounded table- 
like maHes which adorn the fronti of the drawers and the panels of the doors would be in- 
suffifrahle in polished wood, while in the delicate translucent and richly Teined materiil, tor- 
tDiN-thcll, they are in a sense attractive and form a usefijl centre for the elaborate sculpture 
■lound them. The colonnettes ate sheathed with a veneer of tortinse-lhell. The elaborate 
curing in light miteiisl, ud the rippled pattem of the mouldingi which Inm the fnmc 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

enclomng each panel, whether forming the front of the drawer or the surface of the door, 
are of earlier date than this use of tortoise-shell would suggest. There is something about 
the general design also which suggests a seventeenth-century piece In fact, if this chest 
of drawers and cupboards dates fix>m a time later than the reign of Louis XIV. (1715) it 
is assuredly the work of a cabinet-maker with strong traditional tendencies and one who 
longed to retain the designs of his boyhood. In a piece less elaborate and costly the student 
would be inclined to note the probability of its having been made somewhere in the pro- 
vinces, hr away fifom Paris ; for it is well known that the style of design and of carving 
would be retained long in the south in Brittany or in Burgimdy after it had changed seri- 
ously at the centre. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Chair ...... 409 

Mahogany chair of which the back has a single broad slat pierced in suggestion of scroll- 
work with just so much reference to the broken and interrupted scrolls of the rococo style 
as would be attractive in an epoch which had not yet forgotten the illogical brilliancy of 
that class of work. The rococo was pretty nearly abandoned in France as early as 1 760, 
but it might easily have lingered in England, from whence this chair was undoubtedly 
brought, twenty-five yean longer ; it is therefore not remarkable to see these lingering 
traces of its passage. The front legs are of perfectly well-managed curves with claw-and- 
baU feet. It is interesting to see the great added weight and solidity given to the wood 
where it is most elaborately cut away into supposedly graceful shapes. R. Sturgis. 

Chair . . . . . . . -413 

This chair is to be compared .with the one shown on page 409 as being almost precisely 
similar in the character of its back, while the fix>nt legs are as square and plain as the othen 
were elaborate. Moreover, there is reason for square and solid legs ; there are stretching- 
pieces which connect the four legs with one another and make the whole piece very solid. 
It is easy to see that the demand for as obviously durable and massive a piece as this would 
be contemporary with the demand for the more graceful and finished type shown in the 
former example. R. Sturgb. 

Mahogany Chairs . . • . . •414 

Two chairs, in the form of which the two different types shown on pages 409 and 413, 
are reproduced. 

It will be imderstood that in all these chairs the seat is separate ; usually a plank with a 
stuffed cushion secured to it, the plank forming the under side of the cushion. A some- 
what later arrangement is the substitution for the solid panel of an open frame with strips 
of webbing carried ^m side to side. Thb, when introduced, was found to give the cush- 
ion greater softness and to produce a more agreeable seat. 

In all these inserted cushions there is a certain air of fitness, the soft part of the chair 
obviously separate fix>m the frame and easily movable. It is, in taste and propriety, a £uh- 
ion superior to that in which the cushion is nailed fast to the outside of the frame. R. 
Sturgis. 

Carved Ebony Chairs and Table . facing 416 

These pieces come firom the same collection as that on the fix>ntispiece. The form of the 
chairs is very much like some of those of the Queen Anne period and shows the origin of 
the models of that date. The magnificently carved ball-and-claw foot table is as ornate as 
any similar pattern of the Chippendale KhooL The chairs are stuffed and covered with 
dark blue satin with woven Oriental figure and landscape subjects in various colours. £ S. 

Mahogany Chairs . . . • . -417 

Two mahogany armchairs, the style of which is closely in accordance with that of the 
chair page 409 and one of the two page 414. The intelligence of the deugns which we 
associate with Chippendale and his immediate successors in English furniture-making is 
hardly to be appreciated until one notes the perfect fimess of those designs to the enlarged 
form required by an armchair. It is hard to say whether the smaller or the larger piece 
of furniture is the more effective ; and yet the design cannot be said to have undergone not- 
able modification. R. Sturgis. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGI 



Mahogany Chair ...... 420 

A chair of the same epoch as the pieces represented on previous pages, but modified by 
pierced patterns in the stretching-pieces which are made of thin boards for the purp<»e of 
receiving this kind of ornamentation. The same patterns are reproduced in mere sinkings 
in the front legs. The design of the piece is not improved by these ornaments. It is an 
experience constantly recurring in the examination of styles of art — the attempts of work- 
men to escape from the uniformity of design observed in the more important works c^ the 
time. Once in a thousand instances the innovation succeeds, and a new style succeeds to 
the old one after existing for a while contemporaneously with it. R. Sturgis. 

Chippendale Chair ...... 423 

Chair in which the forms given on page 41 3 and page 420 are repeated with but slight 
alteration while, however, the prominent surfaces of the woodwork are covered with the 
most delicate sculpture in low relief. The front of the chair, legs and rail, is so beautifully 
wrought, with such good taste as well as ingenuity, that one cannot but regret that the 
eighteenth century seldom attempted such refined sculpture in buildings or in furniture of 
greater size and pretension. R. Sturgis. 

Set of Lacquer Tables and Carved Ebony 

Chair ..... facing 424 

These pieces belong to the same collection as that in the frontispiece and those ^cing page 
416. The form of the chair with cabriole legs, claw feet and carved heads terminating 
the arms is one that frequently occurs in English furniture of the eighteenth century. It 
is upholstered in crimson satin. On the bcquer tables is a large bowl of the rarest porce- 
lain along the rim of which is a border divided into symmetrical lengths, each containing a 
different picture. £. S. 

Mahogany Chairs ...... 427 

Chair and armchair of mahogany forming part of the same set, though the coverings of 
the seat are now different. What was said above in connection with the cut on page 41 7 
applies with force to these two pieces. The entire fitness of the design to both forms is 
especially worthy of note. R. Sturgis. 

Armchair and Two Sheraton Chairs . . 429 

Armchair which in all respects resembles those shown in previous illustrations of this Part. 
Two chairs of different patterns and of somewhat later date than the pieces found on the 
pages above. The designs resemble those shown in Sheraton's ** drawing-book,'* which 
is indeed of a later date than, the Chippendale contributions to decorative art. R. Sturgis. 

"Chinese'' Settee .... facing 430 

This handsome settee is an excellent example of the ** Chinese '* style of Chippendale work 
which is fully discussed in the text. The frame is of mahogany, handsomely carved, and 
the seat is cane, in accordance with Chippendale's instructions. Probably this was orig- 
inally intended for a summer-house, the suggestions of umbrellas in the top and temple 
bells in the hanging ornaments occurring often in the furniture designed for garden pavil- 
ions, etc. There are several armchairs of identical design belonging to this set. £. S. 

Chippendale Bookcase and Secretary . facing 432 

Library bookcase, the lower part containing fifteen drawers, in addidon to the usual writing- 
desk with dropping shelf and the fittings of the scrutoir ; while the upper part has the usual 
distribudon of glass doors with light wooden sash-bars. It is probable that the upper part, 
if not the lower, b separable into three pieces for convenience of transportation, and un- 
doubtedly the whole uppermost member — the cornice, as we call it in recent times — can 
be renu>ved, as it is nothing but a simulacrum, representing no essential part of the piece 
of funiiture. This piece of about 1810, though with certain minor detaik which suggest 
an earlier time, is most attractive for its simplicity, the general grace of its proportions, and 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGX 

the evident air of being a thoroughly workmanlike and most useful piece of furniture for 
the library. The more precious or more delicately bound books even of a large collection 
would find room behind those glass doors, and the small prints, the notes and documents 
even of a busy literary student might find room in these numerous drawers. R. Sturgis. 

Chippendale Chair and Heppelwhite Card- 

X ABLE • • • • • • •4'<'< 

Roimd table of most successful and admirable design, a gem of simplicity and refinement. 
The inlays in Ught-coloured wood are almost characteristic of Heppelwhite. The chairs 
shown on pages 413 and 423 appeal perhaps more strongly to the sense of admiration for 
stately designs than the present one — they may be thought more fit for a splendidly-furnished 
drawing-room. There is in the nature of the design nothing to put this one into a place 
of inferiority. R. Sturgis. 

Settee ...... facing 434 

Double-chair of carved walnut, a piece to be compared with that in the lower part of the 
Plate opposite page 448 ; in connection with which there is given some statement of the 
different meanings of the word settee often applied to such pieces as this. In the present 
case the carving is of unusual interest. It is rare that mascarons are introduced into work 
of this epoch (about 1 780), and still more rare that the end of a member should be carved 
into an elaborate head, as seen in the arms of the present sofa. These dragon-heads are 
evidently studied fix>m Oriental, probably Chinese, originals, but the heads firom which the 
mascarons of the sofa legs were taken were of European character, however remote and 
impossible to trace may be their primal origin. The forms of this piece are those of the 
fiunous Chippendale, but the carving is, to say the least, unusual in work of his, and it 
seems not imposuble that an American joiner with Chippendale*s book before him should 
have produced such a piece. R. Sturgis. 

Chippendale and Sheraton Chairs . . . 435 

The two central chairs are of Chippendale design ; the one to the extreme right is a Sher- 
aton with the lyre-shaped open panel ; the chair to the extreme left belongs to the early 
nineteenth century. These are sufficiently described in the text. £. S. 

Writing-Cabinet and Two Tables . facing 438 

Small case of drawers with writing-desk decorated with carving and with the original brass 
handles. This piece of the closing yean of the eighteenth century is somewhat unusual in 
its small size and in the curious repetition on a small scale of the parts of a two-bodied piece 
— A chest upon chest or baAut i deux corps. The whole piece stands bu( litde higher 
than the modem writing-desk, and yet, in the small space allowed there are three drawers, 
of which the lowermost is raised above the floor by the whole height of the supporting 
nset. 

The two stands with deep tops are interesting as unusually rich examples of the table 
with rim. The square table has this raised rim so pierced and of such comparative height 
that although it b not vertical, not at right angles with the top, it may vrith propriety be 
called a gallery. This, of coune, has been added to the top, and fitted on vrith careful 
dowelling and glue. The other stand has the rim worked out of the solid precisely in the 
same way that the carving in the middle has been done, the whole top being either a single 
piece of wood, or else built up by the setting edge to edge of different pieces of plank made 
one by the well-known arts of the joiner. The tripod stands and pedestals are very beau* 
tifully designed and prettily carved. R. Sturgis. 

Double Corner Chair ..... 439 

Elaborate comer chair so dengned that it presents an equally decorative aspect on every ude; 
unusual in this and still more unusual in having the secondary or upper back, which may per- 
haps be an after thought or perhaps a special provision made for one who desired support 
for the head. The complicated form has not been mastered by the designer. Its essential 
clumuness has not been overcome ; but the beauty of the workmanship, and the delicacy 
of the deugn shown in the turned uprights and stretching-pieces and in the carefully 
nuxielled and carved legs, pve this armchair a high place as a piece of decorative art. 
R. Stur^ 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGB 

Mahogany Table and Tea-Kettle Stands 

FACING 440 

Two mahogany pedestal tables, and a stand mih << gallery ** enclosing the top. All three 
of these pieces are of the pedestal type, the upright pillar being supported by a tripod of 
three gracefully shaped legs. The beauty and the long continued permanence of this type 
of support b commented on in connection with the illustrations of Part V. The designen 
of the time, having this entirely sads^ctory principle to go upon, were never tired of work- 
ing out the possible varieties of form and carved detail. Thus, the table on the left de- 
pends entirely on turning for the decoration of the pedestal, and the three legs are cut out 
of thin board and are simply rounded at top and bottom ; the outlines remaining, however, 
extremely graceful and appropriate ; while the stand with a little pierced railing around 
the top has the pedestal elaborately fluted above and reeded in spiral form below, with the 
three legs carved with a graceful adaptation of acanthus leafage. The larger table in the 
middle has a carved coat-of-arms which, however, lacks the crest. R. Sturgis. 

V/HAIR •••••••• 444 

A chair of later design than those shown on pages 409, 413 «/ Mf. As mere matter of 
composition, this is in no respect an advance upon the earlier pieces, but there b an in- 
creased delicacy in the parts of the back, partly real and resulting firom their slendemess, 
and partly apparent, coming fixtm their very delicate moulding. The plain square legs are 
moulded and the mouldings cut acro» into little pyramids like mediaeval dog-teeth, an at- 
tractive treatment when more elaborate carving cannot be had. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Chair ...... 447 

This chair is one of a set that vns probably made about the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. It may have been made by a Charleston cabinet-maker ; it is almost identical with 
another chair on page 148, which also comes from Charleston. This piece is upholstered 
with dark red leather fixed with brass studs. £. S. 

Chippendale Stands . . . facing 448 

Three pieces ascribed to Chippendale, namely, tall stand with open ** gallery ** around the 
top and pierced and carved uprights ; low stand with raised moulded edge worked in the 
solid ; and closed case possibly for keeping music. Such pieces as the taller of these stands 
were often called candle-stands ; that eighteenth-century term curiously repeating the pro- 
per and original sense of the Latin word candelabrum ; for those who have studied in mod- 
em museums will remember the ponderous and richly carved marble pieces five feet high, 
as well as the slender bronze uprights of the same or even greater altitude, which were used 
umply to support the feeble lamps of the Roman Imperial time. The small flame of a 
candle or bmp is doubled in efficacy by being set rather high in a place, where the unceiled 
walls and the low ceiling receive and reflect the full force of its illumination. Such a stand 
as the present, about three feet six inches high, would serve rather as a piece to hold the 
light by which one would wish to read, for a candle set upon it would be at the right 
height for a seated reader. The low stand, perhaps two feet in height, is a piece useful in 
a thousand ways. In connection with the plates of Part V, there is comment on the 
tripod feet and the solid moulded edges of such pieces. R. Sturgis. 

Settee ...... facing 448 

Double-chair sofa of Chippendale style, with an unusual amount of sculpture added. Such 
pieces were called at the time simply '* double chairs," and if the term settee was also ap- 
plied to them, that word was used equally for other very different pieces, or parts of pieces. 
Thus (and this is an interesting point) the word settee was used for the small three-cor- 
nered seats worked into the two ends of very long sofas, such as were made for the great 
salens of France, and sometimes imitated in England. These pieces were like a sofa to 
which two comer chairs had been added, one at each of the two ends, the whole worked 
into one design which was sometimes very spirited and successful; and the whole was then 
called, in England, a sofa with settees. The present writer has heard the name applied in old 
country houses to the settles set upon rockers — pieces like a rocking-chair made for two or 
three occupants. Out-of-door garden seats long enough for two, and settles of the true 

xi 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

antique fireside pattern, are called by that name. In fact, anything which can be used for 
sitting upon and which is not a chair in the ordinary sense of the word, may, it appears, 
be called a settee. 

The present piece is unusual in that while the forms are rather simple, there is an un- 
usual amount of naturalistic carving worked upon the firont hct of each bar or separate 
piece which goes to make up the back. R. Sturgis. 

Mirrors ...... facing 450 

These mirrors are of various dates, ranging from early in the century dU the close of the 
Chippendale period. The top one on the right, showing the bird at the top, is a good ex- 
ample of the spikiness of the characteristic Chippendale carving. The rest are compara- 
tivdy simple in design and workmanship, and were to be found in homes that were not 
necosarily luxurious. £. S. 

Screen, Table and Chair . . . . -451 

The screen is a beautifoUy embroidered floral derign, and is an excellent specimen of the 
more elaborate needlework done by the ladies of the eighteenth century. It should be 
compared with the screen, worked in 1776, shown on page 311. The claw-and-ball 
tripod table is a common form of the middle of the century, and the chair is one of the 
more graceful models designed by Heppelwhite. It is stuffed, and covered with crimson 
damask. This is the chair that Heppelwhite designates as <* cabriole.** £. S. 

Field-Bed ........ 454 

Four-post bedstead with low and slender posts carrying the skeleton of an elaborate canopy 
or cieL The idea is that as the posts are short, the tester shall be arched up high in the 
middle. Thb piece as compared with the massive and rich four-posters of Part V is curi- 
ous in this, that the posts of the head-board are of precisely the same design as those of 
the foot, except that the latter have a single passage of reeding in the most prominent part. 
R. Sturgis. 

Bookcase and Secretary . . . facing 454 

Bookcase and Krutoir with drawers below, the glass of the doors lined with some textile 
material, the bookcase so much less deep than the lower part of the case that a broad shelf 
is provided in fix>nt of the bookcase doors. The writing-shelf is the inside of the dropping 
fix>nt cover which, when closed, completes the design of the piece. The suggestion of 
Gothic window tracery in the form of the sash bars seems to imply an epoch of about 1 820, 
although in Sheraton*s dated designs of 1 8 1 2 some approach to it may be found. In Eng- 
land, where the practice of what was thought to be Gothic art has never been abandoned 
altogether, such a way of treating the slender bars of glazed sash may have occurred to the 
designer at almost any time. R. Sturgis. 

Chairs ........ 457 

Chair and armchair of the type characteristic of drawing-room fomiture in the time of 
George III. and George IV. The suggestion of the form is evidently classical, taken fix>m 
the Greco-Roman forms studied by the French artists of the First Empire. Indeed, the 
forms of these English chairs are closely akin to those in use vnthin Napoleon*s sphere of 
influence. The design has in it a certain grave respectability appropriate enough to the 
rooms of English citizens of the wealthier class at a time when decorative art was at the 
very lowest ebb which it has ever reached in western Europe since the revival of art in the 
tenth century. R. Sturgis. 

Inlaid Sideboard .... facing 458 

Small sideboard with three knife-ccses. This sideboard is of very unusual character in 
that it is arranged as if for travel or for easy removal ^m place to place. That which ap- 
pears in the picture as the back of the sideboard and supports four shelves, each having a 
bracket to support it, is in reality the hinged cover which on occasion can be shut down upon 
the box below. The shelves are all adjustable themselves to the raised upper part or cover 

701 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGX 

and are hinged as are their brackets, these last having spring holders which keep them in 
place when they are once opened. The side shelves drop like the leaves of a Pembroke 
table and are supported, when raised, by sliding strips which disappear in the body of the 
piece. The whole thing is inlaid with delicate woods much in the style of Heppelwhite, 
but with more use of floral ornament than is usual with him. 

The knife-cases are of unusually elaborate design, this richness of aspect being caused 
mainly by the very finely wrought metal moimtings. There are three delicate little feet to 
each piece and the attachment of these to the body, the striking plates of the drop handles 
on the sides and of the sloping top, and most of all, the scutcheon and hasp piece of the 
lock are remarkable pieces of delicate work. One looks in vain among these rich and fiui- 
tastic scrolls for a cipher or even a single initial. All is abstract and made without refer- 
ence to any particular owner — something imusual u> pieces of such varied beauty. R. 
Sturgis. 

Mahogany Chair . . . . . .461 

Chair with legs and cross bars as plain as any that we have to do with in this study, but 
with a back elaborately wrought as if in further development of the style adopted in the chairs 
shown on pages 409, 41 3, and elsewhere. The design of the present chair may be thought 
even more constructional than those in that it is more obviously made of slender bars 
wrought into shape instead of a broad pierced slat. R. Sturgis. 

Adam Chairs ....... 463 

Chairs and armchair, the two pieces on the left and in the middle having much the same 
Imperial character as those on page 457. R. Sturgis. 

Heppelwhite Chair ..... 465 

Chair which should be compared with that on page 461. There is the same desire to 
obtain curved forms in the back, and to give the combination of these a shape which re- 
minds one of the outline of a shield. The mediaeval pointed eeu has always been attrac- 
tive to modems, and wherever an excuse offers to bring it in, as in the scutcheon of a key- 
hole, the flat plate of a sconce, or as here, the mere bounding outline of a series of bars, it 
is seized upon eagerly and retained entire. The legs of this chair are prettily inlaid with 
light-coloured wood. R. Sturgis. 

Heppelwhite Sofa .... facing 466 

Sofa of about 1 780, with no woodwork showing except the legs. Such pieces as this, 
which are the precursors of our modem stuffed and tufted furniture, of horsehair and 
springs, were not themselves so very liuurious. They were comparatively hard, and, how- 
ever well stuffed were the seat, back and arms, they hardly invited to such reposeful atti- 
tudes as the nineteenth-century pieces which correspond to them. On the other hand, 
they were far more comely in the room, agreeing much better with the architectural lines, 
retaining a certain severity and dignity, and avoiding the appearance which our modem 
comfortable furniture almost inevitably has, of being an accidental cushion thrown down 
here or there, and not belonging to the apartment which it b supposed to complete. There 
is also in the old pieces a far better opportunity to show a finely designed piece of stuff, and 
in the present case that opportunity is seized. A very beautiful material with a flower 
pattern alternated by stripes, the whole somewhat formal and exact but of singular beauty 
of composition, completes this piece in a way that few recent furniture coverings would 
make possible. R. Sturgis, 

Heppelwhite Chairs ...... 467 

Two chairs whose forms are closely in agreement with those on pages 461 and 465. An- 
other step in the gradually increased elaboration of these pieces is shown in the shaping of 
projecting bases, as it were, to the front legs. This is an entirely appropriate and fitting 
termination of such uprights. The only doubt about its propriety is in the comparative 
plainness which the workmen of the period agreed in giving to the legs of their chairs. It 
seems to be thought, and certainly not without reason, that these should be made so as to 
attnct the eye less than other parts of the piece. R. Sturgis. 

ZIU 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Heppelwhite Sideboard . . . facing 470 

Sideboard of about 1800, and probably the work of one of the funous English makers, 
although probably the handles of the drawer are not of the same epoch. There is very 
beautiful inlay of light wood on dark in the style of that introduced by Heppelwhite dur- 
ing the last years of the eighteenth century. 

There are three knife-cases standing on this sideboard, all of about the same date 
with it. 

It is a curious instance of the intelligence of dedgn shown by these later eighteenth-cen- 
tuiy artists in furniture that their pieces look well with, and also without, the almost inev- 
itable accessories. A sideboard of this date with its perfectly flat top is evidently made to 
receive the spoon-bowls, knife-cases, lamps, branched candlesticks and punch bowls which 
belong to it, and yet the piece is not felt to be naked and incomplete without them, how- 
ever well it may look when they are set upon it. R. Sturgis. 

Sofa ......... 472 

Covered soBi closely agreeing in design and character vrith that which is shown in the plate 
opposite page 466. Here also in each of these two sofas the thickening of the legs at the 
bottom, as if to make a little base, is noticeable. In this case the fluting of the legs gives 
an additional fitness to the little bases as aflbrding a natural means of stopping the flutes and 
keeping them from reaching the floor. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Sofa . . . . facing 472 

Sod of the first twenty years of the nineteenth century, carvea vrith the solidity and mass- 
iveness of detail peculiar to the time. R. Sturg^. 

Two Chairs and a Letter Case .... 473 

The chair on the left is of a dengn which Thomas Sheraton made peculiarly his own, 
the central slat being wrought into the guise of a classical vase with festoons, and this 
enclosed in a special arcaded open fiame, reinforced in its turn by a secondary and plainer 
frame. The deugn is illogicad enough, but its dignity and fitness for a room of reception 
and ceremony cannot be denied. The simple armchair on the right would seem to be of 
the deagn modified originally from the Windsor chair. Thus might a cabinet-maker of 
renown deal with the simple problem which that traditional form would ofler him. R. 
Sturgis. 

Sheraton Chair ...... 475 

A chair but slightly modified from the deagn shown on the left, page 473. This is another 
instance of a deagn, giving satisfaction to its maker and therefore played with, treated in dif- 
fisrent ways with but slight change of detail, and always with pleasure to workman and to 
purchaser. R. Sturgis. 

Sheraton Sofa ...... 479 

Sofii of very fine and agreeable form; but the piece is in reality a completely covered sofii, 
with the wooden firame as completely concealed as is the stout wire frame of our modem 
rrm^ovrrr style. The strip along the back is a mere adjunct to the actual framing-piece con- 
cealed by the stuff and that of the arms b even more slender, and as it were a wooden bind- 
ing put on where a piece of passementerie might equally well have been used. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Inlaid Sideboard and Chippendale 

Chairs . . . . • facing 480 

Sideboard and two chairs ; the chain of about 1780, probably Chippendale of a simple pat- 
tern ; the sideboard somewhat later, probably 1805, perhaps by Heppelwhite, retaining 
some of its original hardware and unrestored. Upon the sideboard are two knife-cases of 
polished wood, one open to show the interior arrangement. 

The sidd>oard is of singular beauty of design. The reeding of the legs would be alone 
recommendation enough to an ardent collector or student, for it is very rare that this detail 

xtv 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Ww miafit and mccaafiilly miiuged. The rounded member whicb fomu one of the leg* 
below farm) above a perfectly well adapted comer-piece, and ID another cue an equally 
fitting diviiion between the central man and the tide cupboard]. The beauty of proportkn 
and grace of outline of tbii |Hece are unaucpaned in piecea of ttiii Kyle and epoch. R. 



Work-Table 

Work-table ; that n ta aij, a table : 
placing a wooden botbun, Kiine much 
•ilk, or Kime more coatly textile mai 
48 s il of a different character, and 
time when It wat cuatonury to have 
ceptioD or Btting-room. Thoae we] 
for conUant amuicmenl u it known 
pected to make wme >ort of dainty 1 
thought to need douig. The table itaelf i 
applied earring, which in lOelf 

Work-Table 



481 



1 which a lower drawer hai ngpended : 
irgerieceptacle which mighl,uin thiic 
rial, and finiihed with a fringr. Tbe 
le two Oiow very well Che table, used 


a«,bl'rf.tu3; 

piece on page 
by ladiei at a 


wme pretty >« 
the diyi when 

cupation of wo 
>elfi>>nlh>ci 


nng WDik reidy to cair 
. there wai not quite th< 
century. The ladiea c 
rk which had to be dor 


f on in the re- 
sume demand 
if Che time ea- 
le or might be 
;, vrith prettUr 



Work-table in which tbe triple devgn of tbe vrooden frame allowt equally Kw each of tw 
pDtaJble diiitibutioni. The tide pitca above may be work-boiei, that ii, Lttle tilli fiirthe 
keeping of ipooli, iciuon, and the reit — what a tailor would call the ditty boiei — and tbe 
centre compartment being open allowed the arm to reach into the lilk bag below. The 
other anangement allowed by chii table it a division of three bag! with three lepante open- 
lap to them from ibort, and a tingle corer to all three. R. Stnigil. 



483 






dv 


! 






i^ 














THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

Part VI. CKippendale 

AND OTHER GREAT CABINET-MAKERS OF THE 
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 



HE family of Boulle (written also Boule and 
Biihl) acquired great feme as cabinet-mak- 

Ters in the seventeenth century. The most 
celebrated was Andr6-Charles, the son of 
Jean, and the nephew of Pierre Boulle. 
These elder Boulles bore the title of " menu- 
siers du roi" and lived at the Louvre. 

Andre-Charles Boulle, native of Paris, architect, 
painter, and sculptor in mosaic, born November loth, 
1642, died in Paris in the galleries of the Louvre, where 
he had had the honour of residing since 1672. 

Boulle was not the originator of the style that bears 
his name : he carried it to such perfection, however, that it 
will always be associated with him. Long before Boulle 
began to work. Cardinal Mazarin owned a cabinet of tor- 
toise-shell and ebony, outlined with copper-gilt and sup- 
ported on copper-gilt monsters. This was still further or- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

namented with copper-gilt masques, cartouches, foliage, 
animals, and figures in bas-relief representing various fables 
from Ovid. From the reign of Henri IV., but more es- 
pecially that of Louis XIII., there had been a growing use 
of metal in combination with wood, and the liking for and 
use of luxurious furniture, constructed of precious metals 
and richly decorated, was greatly fostered by Anne of 
Austria and Cardinal Mazarin. The latter owned furni- 
ture of the most sumptuous description. At this period, 
the rich financiers furnished their homes with silver furni- 
ture, — 2. fashion brought over the Pyrenees with the daugh- 
ter of Philip III. on her marriage with the Dauphin, after- 
wards Louis XIV. 

Furniture under the latter monarch soon outshone that 
of past reigns, although, for the most part, it was sculptured 
in wood and gilt rather than chiselled out of metal. The 
King was not the only one to enjoy luxurious articles; as 
an example, we may recall the superb bed-room set of sil- 
ver presented to Mile. d'Aumont on her marriage with M. 
de Beringhen. Indeed there was so much extravagance 
that sumptuary laws were passed. 

Furniture in precious metals had its influence as well 
as its comparatively short day, and wooden furniture was 
gilded and silvered in imitation of it. The furniture in the 
reign of the grand monarque was principally gilded : gold 
glittered everyivhere. 

In 1667, the Manufacture royalle des Meubles de la 
Couronne — in other words, the Gobelin Manufactory (tak- 
ing its name from the Gobelen brothers of Flanders) — ^was 
founded. The intention of the King and his minister of 
finance, Colbert, was to adorn the royal palaces with furni- 
ture hangings, bronze, mosaics, etc., etc., of the greatest 

404 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

splendour. The manufactory was placed under the direc- 
tion of the famous painter Le Brun, who, in this capacity, 
gave French art a character of unity so perfect and com- 
plete as to impose French styles all over Europe. A vast 
number of artists and artisans worked under one governing 
idea. Boulle was made " ebenistej ciseleuTy et marqueteur or- 
dinaire du Roy^' and devoted himself to producing the fur- 
niture so well in harmony with the magnificence of Ver- 
sailles, Marly, and other palaces of the King and his cour- 
tiers. 

BouUe's furniture consists almost exclusively of ar- 
moires, consoles, tables and desks, — such forms as present 
large surfaces for decoration. It naturally follows that his 
designs are frequently four-square and heavy; yet they 
often take the curved, or bombe shape, and it is not uncom- 
mon to find the legs of his tables joined by the X-shaped 
stretcher. His cases for clocks are also valued. 

" No one would refuse to admit," says a modern 
French critic, " that the architecture is the least remark- 
able part of the creations of this celebrated artist. His 
great merit, independently of the perfection of the work 
of his ebenisteriej must be sought elsewhere. Boulle is a 
colourist in his art more than a designer. The contours of 
his furniture are often heavy and he added nothing new. 
You may find all the elements in the immense work of Le 
Brun, the great master of decorative art under Louis XIV. 
The superiority and the originality of this cabinet-maker 
consists in the admirable combination of the bronze and the 
copper with the background of the furniture which he un- 
derstood how to vary infinitely by the multiplicity of 
incrustations and mosaics upon the groundwork of oak and 
chestnut. This was his palette, from which he drew his 

405 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

surprising effects and on which he played with his con- 
summate virtuosity; it is to this that he owes his legiti- 
mate renown, greater even in England than it is in 
France/* 

BouUe's work is an intarsia or marquetry of tortoise- 
shell and metals. Ebony or oak forms the framework or 
background for the decoration. The designs of the orna- 
ments of thin brass, or white metal, are usually branches of 
foliage or scrolls, and are sometimes elaborately engraved. 
Frequently these metal ornaments are fastened to the bed 
of wood with small brass nails, hammered flat, and after- 
wards chased, so that they are invisible. The method of in- 
crustation was as follows : the workman superimposed a plate 
of metal and a plate of shell of equal size and thickness, 
and, after having traced his design upon this, cut the pat- 
tern out with a saw. He then had four ornamental designs, 
or patterns, two of which were hollowed out. Into the 
hollowed out tortoise-shell pattern he would fit the corre- 
sponding metal pattern, and into the hollowed out metal 
pattern he would fit the corresponding tortoise-shell pattern. 
Two pieces of ftirniture were frequently made at the same 
time. The tortoise-shell ground with the metal inlay 
was considered the ^* first part " ; and the metal ground 
with the tortoise-shell inlay, " the counterpart." Frequent- 
ly, also, the first and second parts were mingled in the same 
piece of furniture. An interesting example of such balan- 
cing belonged to Sir Richard Wallace; examples of the 
reverse designs occur in two console tables in the Galerie 
d'Apollon at Versailles. 

The earlier style, called " old BouUe,** was costly, owing 
to the waste in cutting ; but the expense was lessened af- 
terwards by sawing through several thicknesses of material 

406 




BOULI.K SECRETARY AND CABINET 

In Memorial H/i/l. PhUaJflfhia, Pa. Set fngl ^oS. 






V 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

and producing a number of designs at once. This process 
is known as " BouUe and Counter." In the " old BouUe" 
the shell was left in its natural colour ; in the " new Boulle" 
it was laid on a vermilion or gilt ground. A beautiful ex- 
ample of the latter faces page 40 3 . This table belongs to 
Mrs. Andrew Symonds of Charleston, S. C, having de- 
scended to her through the Breaux family of New Orleans. 
The shell used is that of the hawk's-bill turtle, or tortoise. 
The most prized scales are dark brown with light golden 
spots. 

BouUe also used ebony, pearl shells, ivory and woods. 
That he worked in wood-marquetry we have proof from 
an Inventaire prepared by him after a fire had destroyed his 
workshop in 1720. He mentions : "Five boxes filled with 
different flowers, birds, animals, leaves, and ornaments in 
all kinds of natural colours, the greater number by BouUe 
pire^ made in his youth. Twelve cases of all kinds of col- 
oured rare woods." He valued these at 8,000 livres. 

Boulle, who was also a sculptor, frequently chased the 
mouldings, feet, etc., for his works. 

The sons and pupils of Boulle sometimes used horn, col- 
oured blue or red, instead of tortoise-shell. Among them 
may be mentioned Philippe Poitou, who became the King's 
marquetry- worker in 1698. The Crescents, father and 
son, who also made furniture enriched with ornaments of 
copper and shell, acquired fame during the Regency. The 
son was ^^ebeniste des palais du due d' Orleans ^ 

At the period of BouUe's popularity in France, Eng- 
land's sumptuous furniture was silver beautifully embossed. 
A great interest was taken in carving in wood during the 
last part of the seventeenth century ; but Steele includes 
in a humourous paper upon Lady Fardingale's stolen treas- 

407 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ures (1710), "a small cabinet with six drawers inlaid with 
red tortoise-shell and brass gilt ornaments at the four cor- 
ners," which shows that BouUe was fashionable in Eng- 
land at this date. 

Porcelain was much used to ornament furniture in 
BouUe's day. 

The Boulle cabinet, facing page 406, is in Memorial Hall, 
Philadelphia. It has ormoulu mounts ; the front and flap of 
the desk are inlaid brass and tortoise-shell ; the columns sup- 
porting the pediment are twisted with Corinthian capitals 
of brass ; the pilasters and doors are of brown tortoise-shell ; 
the Cupids and other ornaments are gilt; four porcelain 
medallions decorate the front, two are portraits of Henri- 
etta Maria and Charles I., the other two are mythological 
subjects. The front hoofs are brass, the back hoofs of 
wood. 

The two marriage coflfers ordered by the king on the 
occasion of the marriage of his son, the Grand Dauphin, 
to Marie Christine de Bavaria, were probably the most 
ornate work of this celebrated ebeniste. 

Another fine specimen of BouUe's work, a cabinet, 
said to have been made for the Cardinal de Retz, is pre- 
served at Windsor Castle. 

A very ornate cabinet by Boulle, owned by the Mu- 
seum of Fine Arts, Boston, faces this page. 

The difference between furniture characteristic of the 
seventeenth and that of the eighteenth century is suffi- 
ciently marked to be startling to one who has not studied 
the subject; he would make a grievous error in assum- 
ing that the change was sudden or abrupt. Even people 
who take an intelligent interest in the decorative arts, 
often speak of styles of ornament as if each were a separate 

408 




BOULLE CABINET 
/h Ihi Maitam af Fine Arts, Bailan, Man. See page ^08. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




MAHOGANY CHAIR 

ouM, Scodi, N. Y. 



and independent creation, springing to life 
from one great brain, in full panoply, like 
Minerva. They also imagine that the old 
order immediately passes away, falling like 
blossoms before the first frosts. The 
transitional period with its modifications 
and developments is entirely 
lost sight of, the distinct char- 
acteristics of each style only be- 
ing considered. This tendency 
to draw sharp dividing lines be- 
tween periods is partly account- 
able for the fact that, as we shall 
see, the name Chippendale is 
loosely used as a designation for 
a whole period of furniture to sm l^ge 463. 
which many artists and crafts- 
men contributed. Some space may therefore be profitably 
devoted to bridging the gulf between Jacobean furniture 
and that which appears in Chippendale's book. 

It is only when art is at a low ebb in a community that 
a medley of moveables is found in wealthy homes ; even 
the discovery of the strange products of the East and their 
importation soon brought about a demand for buildings 
and interior decoration in character with Oriental furniture 
and ceramics, as we shall see. 

In Medieval halls, the furniture is cumbrous and soHd, 
in sympathy with the heavily carved wall and rafter, and 
seems almost to form part of the architectural decoration. 
In such a setting, furniture of delicate and graceful form 
would have been out of place. When, therefore, we re- 
member that furniture contributed to eifects of interior 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

decoration, we can readily understand why it was specially 
designed by great artists, carvers and architects. 

Let us now take a rapid survey of those who influenced 
the new developments. 

Philibert de TOrme (died 1570) designed chimney- 
pieces decorated with terminal figures, scrolls, escutcheons, 
etc. 

Mathurin Jousse was a designer in metal mountings, 
etc. His book (1627) figures, also, a kind of invalid chair 
that can be propelled by the occupant, and a four-post bed 
with an early form of casters. 

Jean Berain (i 636-1 711) employed his talents freely 
on the decoration of rooms and furniture. 

Jean Le Pautre, who studied under a cabinet-maker 
named Philippon and died in 1682, designed tables, chim- 
ney-pieces, mirrors, gueridons^ etc. His works, published 
in 1 73 1, are full of French Renaissance details which must 
have been of great use to the English cabinet-makers, who, 
like Chippendale, delighted in florid carving. Moreover, 
his motives, doubtless, crossed the Channel, and were known 
to the native carvers forty years before his works were pub- 
lished in Paris, for a pupil of his, Daniel Marot, was one 
of the many skilful Huguenots employed in this branch of 
art who were forced to leave their country by the revoca- 
tion of the Edict of Nantes. He went to Holland in 1686, 
and when the Prince of Orange became William HI. of 
England, three years later, Marot became his chief archi- 
tect and master of works. Staircases, panelling and all gen- 
eral furniture were among his numerous designs. He had 
become acquainted with the latest Dutch marquetry de- 
signs, and the Oriental wares with which the Low Coun- 
tries were being inundated. His influence, therefore, in 

410 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

introducing the so-called Queen Anne style, must have been 
very potent. 

In England, Marot found architects and workmen who 
were receptive and progressive. Inigo Jones, who died in 
1653, ^^^ already worked in the Renaissance style. His 
Classic chimney-pieces were carved in wood, stone and mar- 
ble by imported Italians. Foreign labour, however, was 
not required now, for an English school of carving of the 
highest ability had arisen, and at its head was the famous 
Grinling Gibbons (1650— 1721), who in addition to his 
other work, carved wall-panels, mirror-frames and chim- 
ney-pieces. His most renowned pupils were Watson, Doe- 
vot of Brussels (died 171 5) and Laurens of Mechlin. 

Designs in interior decoration and furniture were de- 
parting widely from what the conservative element consid- 
ered advisable. Protests were soon heard against this 
license. In 1697, Evelyn writes: "As certain great mas- 
ters invented certain new corbels, scrolls and modilions, 
which were brought into use ; so their followers animated 
by their example (but with much less judgment) have pre- 
sumed to introduce sundry baubles and trifling decorations (as 
they fancy) in their works. . . . And therefore, tho' such 
devices and inventions may seem pretty in cabinet-work, 
tables, frames and other joyners-work for variety, to place 
china dishes upon; one would by no means encourage or 
admit them in great and noble buildings.** 

Evelyn evidently alludes to the work of Borromini, 
Berain, Marot and their followers, who were bringing se- 
verity and restraint into disfavour. Marot was only one of 
many foreigners who worked in England. A list of the for- 
eigners in London, soon after the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes in 1685, reveals a great number of Huguenot join- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ers, carvers and goldsmiths. It is well known that this exile 
drained France of many of her most skilful workmen, and 
proportionately enriched England, Germany and the Neth- 
erlands. French art, moreover, was imparted to the Eng- 
lish cabinet-makers by many of the French designers and 
artists who visited and sometimes took up their residence 
in England. Among others, J. B. Monnoyer, commonly 
called Baptiste, died in London in 1699. Samuel Gribelin 
was another who worked chiefly in England, and died there 
in 1733. In 1682, he published A Book of sever all Oma- 
ments. Later publications of his were A Book of Ornaments 
useful to yewelerSy Watchmakers and all other Artists (1697) 
and A New Book of Ornaments useful to all Artists. Until 
the death of Queen Anne, however, it was the Dutch rather 
than the French that dominated English taste. 

Sir Christopher Wren (1632— 1723) superintended the 
furnishing and decorations of Queen Mary's apartments in 
Hampton Court Palace. There were alcoves in the din- 
ing-room for sideboard tables, and the carved chimney- 
pieces had receding shelves for china. There were also 
tables with carved and gilt frames and tops of coloured 
marble. 

Mary had acquired at The Hague a mania for the col- 
lection of china ornaments, and on her accession this had a 
great influence in spreading the fashion. Lord Notting- 
ham wrote in 1689 '^^^ the Queen visited many "India 
houses" (curiosity shops). The exchange of porcelain for 
ladies' cast-off" clothing became a recognized trade. 

William Kent (1684— 1748) designed most of the fur- 
niture at Houghtony the seat of Sir Robert Walpole. Hor- 
ace Walpole doubted his good taste ; he says : " Chaste as 
these ornaments were, they were often immeasurably pon- 

411 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

derous. His chimney pieces, though lighter than those of 
Inigo, whom he imitated, are frequently heavy ; and his 
constant introduction of pediments and the members of 
architecture over doors and within rooms, was dispropor- 




N. H. S« i»ge 4S6. 



tionate and cumbrous. Kent's style, however, predomi- 
nated authoritatively during his life; and his oracle was so 
much consulted by all who affected taste, that nothing was 
thought complete without his assistance. He was not only 
consulted for furniture, as frames of pictures, glasses, tables, 
chairs, etc., but for plate, for a barge, for a cradle. And 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

so impetuous was the fashion, that two great ladies pre- 
vailed on him to make designs for their birthday gowns. 
The one he dressed in a petticoat decorated with columns 
of the five orders; the other, like a bronze, in a copper- 
coloured satin with ornaments of gold." 

The English, Dutch and Portuguese trade with the 




MAHOGANY CHAIRS - 
Owned Iqr Stcphea Qinti, now in Ginrd College, Pbiladelplua. See page 46%. 



East had greatly affected taste in furniture during the sec- 
ond half of the seventeenth century. An early lover of 
Chinese art was Cardinal Mazarin. He hit upon an in- 
genious way of bringing Oriental goods into prominence 
in the feshionable world as early as 1658. An entry in the 
diary of the King's cousin. La Grande Mademoiselle, re- 
lates how: "He took the two queens, the princess and 
myself into a gallery that was full of all imaginable kinds 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of stone-work, jewelry and all the beautiful things that 
came from China, crystal chandeliers, mirrors, tables, cabi- 
nets of all kinds, silver plate, etc." These were for a lot- 
tery in which every one was to have a prize. 

The Cardinal started the taste for Chinese products so 
successfully that, in 1686, when Count Lauzun and the 
above famous princess had quarrelled, the count could 
think of no better way to conciliate her than by sending 
her a cargo of Chinese goods from England. 

At this period, Paris received most of her Oriental 
wares through London or Amsterdam, though later there 
were enormous importations through L* Orient. Evelyn 
notes in his Diary y March 22, 1664: "One Tomson, a 
Jesuite shewed me such a collection of rarities, sent from 
ye Jesuites of Japan and China to their order at Paris, as 
a present to be received in their repository, but brought to 
London by the East India ships for them, as in my life I 
had not seen. The chiefe things were rhinoceros's horns ; 
glorious vests wrought and embroidered on cloth of gold, 
but with such lively colors, that for splendour and vividness 
we have nothing in Europe that approaches it . . . fanns 
like those our ladies use, but much larger, and with long 
handles curiously carved and filled with Chinese characters ; 
a sort of paper very broad, thin and fine like abortive parch- 
ment, and exquisitely polished, of an amber yellow, exceed- 
ingly glorious and pretty to looke on ; several other sorts of 
paper, some written, other printed ; prints of landskips, their 
idols, saints, pagods, of most ugly serpentine monstrous and 
hideous shapes, to which they paid devotion ; pictures of 
men and countries rarely printed on a sort of gum'd calico 
transparent as glasse ; flowers, trees, beasts, birds, etc., ex- 
cellently wrought in a sort of sieve silk very naturall." 

415 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

In 1676, he says that Lord Wotton's "furniture is very 
particular for Indian cabinets, porcelane, and other solid and 
noble moveables/* 

We have already seen how early and in what quantities 
all kinds of Oriental wares reached the American colonies. 

A carved ebony cabinet is shown on the frontispiece. 
It belonged to Houqua, a mandarin of China, and is now 
owned by Mrs. Caleb T. Smith of Smithtown, L. I. The 
two ebony chairs and table on the opposite page, and the 
ebony chair and set of lacquer tables facing page 424, also 
belong to Mrs. Smith and have the same origin. It is well 
known that fashion in China is not very mutable and there- 
fore that the styles here depicted are most likely the same 
as those that prevailed during the period we have been ex- 
amining. The ball-and-claw feet of the table and the high- 
backed chairs with turned legs may well have been proto- 
types of early eighteenth-century furniture. The carved 
heads on the armchair (facing page 424) and the squat 
bulging legs with claw feet are curiously familiar. 

It can be readily understood how the interiors of rooms 
would be affected when porcelains had to be displayed to 
the best decorative advantage. The chimney-piece suffered 
considerable modifications. Daviler, in his Cours d'archi-- 
tecture (1691), says: "The height of the cornice (of the 
chimney-pieces) should be raised six feet in order that the 
vases with which they are ornamented may not be knocked 
down.** 

Marot's designs are most instructive on this point. 
Some show high cornices and door-tops loaded with bowls 
and vases, and the walls have tiers of small brackets be- 
tween the decorative panels, each holding a piece of china. 
An over-mantel, nearly sixteen feet in height, is adorned 

416 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

with eleven carved images and two hundred and seventy-five 
cups, vases and bowls arranged symmetrically; the varied 
sizes and shapes produce a splendid effect. The adjoining 
wall-panel is painted with four subjects in tier that are 
clearly recognizable as Chinese, — a temple, some figures 




ANY CHAIRS 
mghl, Hartforil, Conn. 



and some kind of dragon being the most characteristic. 
Marot's willingness to adopt Oriental subjects for interior 
decoration shows what public taste was beginning to de- 
mand. His successors found this new impulse sweeping 
everything before it. 

From the accession of William III. till the death of 
Queen Anne, the ties between England and the Low Coun- 
tries were very close. After William's death, Marlbor- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ough's campaign enabled thousands of English officers to 
become acquainted with Flemish art and fashions, and 
made them hostile to everything French. The "Queen 
Anne'* style is thus essentially Anglo-Dutch, with China as 
a dominant note. 

In 171 1, Addison thus describes a lady*s "library": 
" The very sound of a Ladfs Library gave me a great 
Curiosity to see it ; and as it was some time before the Lady 
came to me, I had an opportunity of turning over a great 
many of her Books which were ranged together in very 
beautiful Order. At the End of her Folios (which were 
very finely bound and gilt) were great jars of Chindy placed 
one above another in a very noble piece of Architecture. 
The Quartos were separated from the Octavos by a Pile of 
smaller Vessels which rose in a delightful Pyramid. The 
Octavos were bounded by Ten dishes of all Shapes, Colours 
and Sizes, which were so disposed on a wooden Frame, 
that they looked like one continued Pillar indented with 
the finest Strokes of Sculpture, and stained with the great- 
est variety of Dyes. That Part of the Library which was 
designed for the Reception of Plays and pamphlets and 
other loose Papers, was enclosed in a kind of Square con- 
sisting of one of the prettiest grotesque Works that I ever 
saw, and made up of Scaramouches, Lions, Monkies, Man- 
darines, Trees, Shells, and a thousand other odd Figures in 
China Ware. In the midst of the Room was a little Japan 
Table with a quire of gilt Paper upon it, and on the Paper 
a Silver Snuff-box made in the shape of a little Book. I 
found there were several Counterfeit Books upon the upper 
Shelves, which were carved in wood, and several only to 
fill up the number.** 

Cabinet-makers of that day bowed gracefully to the 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

prevailing taste and imitated Chinese and Japanese work in 
a class of furniture with lac-work panels and rich gilt 
metal mounts. This "black" furniture ornamented in 
gold-dust with raised Chinese figure designs was in great 
demand. It found its way to this side of the Atlantic, and 
sometimes appears in the inventories. 

In 1724, Defoe writes that china is piled on the top 
of cabinets, secretaries and every chimney-piece to the 
tops of the ceilings, on shelves set up to hold it. 

The carved objects in ivory, ebony, teak and other 
woods, the metal wares, the pictures on silk and paper, the 
fans, and, above all, the porcelains ornamented with scenes 
of temple, palace and cottage architecture, and interior 
decorations, opened an entirely new vista of art and orna- 
mental design. 

Sir William Chambers is generally credited with the 
responsibility for this Chinese fad. This, however, is an 
entirely erroneous impression, for the fashion had taken 
deep root long before he published the sketches and 
measurements he had taken in Canton. Indeed, he inti- 
mates that he is partly induced to give them to the world 
as a corrective. In his preface he says : " It was not my 
design to publish them, nor would they now appear, were 
it not in compliance with the desire of several lovers of the 
arts, who thought them worthy of the perusal of the pub- 
lick, and that they might be of use in putting a stop to the 
extraordinary fancies that daily appear under the name of 
Chinese, though most of them are mere inventions, the 
rest copies from the lame representations found on porce- 
lain and paper-hangings." 

Chippendale, whose work had been published four 
years previously, is one of the offenders to whom he al- 

4>9 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




MAHOGANY CHAIR 
OriginiD)' owned by Cornelia Hining lone 
now by Mn. John Bleecker MLlUr, New Vorl 
See page 460. 



ludes. In the very year in which he pub- 
lished the above, two books appeared, by 
T homas Johnson and by Edwards and 
Dirly, that fully illustrate the extrava- 
gances on which he animadverts. Among 
the decorative devices are 
temple, bridge, summer- 
house, hermitage, alcove,or- 
chestra, water-sum mer- 
house, oval landscape, water- 
piece, fishing with birds, 
landscape with archers, fish- 
ing with nets, dragon boats, 
pleasure boats, birds, beasts, 
grand bed, palanquins, arm- 
chair, canopy, philosopher, 
mandarin and soldier, man- 
darin and fakir, procession, tea-drinking, flowers, etc. 

A still earlier publication of this school was William 
Halfpenny's New Designs for Chinese TempleSy Triumphal 
ArcheSy Garden-Seats y Palings, etc, (London, 1750— 1752.) 
The author was a carpenter and architect and he was as- 
sisted by his son. Extravagant fancy could hardly excel 
their designs. Describing a " Chinese alcove seat " front- 
ing four ways, they suggest that " above the crown of the 
cove may be a room wherein musicians may be secreted 
and play soft music to the agreeable surprise of strangers; 
the performers going in by a subterranean passage." A 
richly carved " Chinese settee" of the Chippendale school 
faces page 430. It belonged to Governor Wentworth 
and is still owned by his descendants, in the Ladd House, 
Portsmouth, N. H. See also page 369, 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Besides the Chinese craze, a kind of spurious Gothic 
revival affected decorative art to some extent towards the 
middle of the century. No reviev^ of the period would be 
complete without some attention being paid to this move- 
ment. The Gothic style had fallen into ill-repute. In 
1697, John Evelyn calls it "a certain fantastical and licen- 
cious manner of building which we have since called 
Modern (or Gothic rather) conjestions of heavy, dark, melan- 
choly and monkish piles without any just proportion, use 
or beauty. ... So when we meet with the greatest indus- 
try and expensive carving, full oi fret and lamentable Imagry 
a judicious spectator is distracted and quite confounded. . . . 
Not that there is not something of solid and odly artificial 
too, after a sort : but then the universal and unreasonable 
thickness of the walls, clumsy buttresses, towers, sharp- 
pointed arches, doors and other apertures without propor- 
tion; nonsense insertions of various marbles impertinently 
placed ; turrets and pinnacles thickset with Munkies and 
chimaeras and abundance of busy work and other incon- 
gruities dissipate and break the angles of the sight and so 
confound it that one cannot consider it with any steadiness. 
. . . Vast and gigantic buildings indeed but not worthy the 
name of architecture.'* 

This opinion was shared by most people, and the only 
thing about Gothic architecture that was valued seems to 
have been its ruins. Some of the nobility are even said to 
have dismantled their castles purposely ; and the old furni- 
ture was utterly despised. The formal Dutch gardens also 
began to give way to a new style about this time, and 
ruins came in handy. In 1728, Batty Langley published 
T^he Principles of Gardening. One plate shows "an ave- 
nue, in perspective, terminated with the ruins of an ancient 

421 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

building after the Roman manner ; " and eight other plates 
show " views of ruins after the old Roman manner ft)r the 
termination of walks, avenues, etc." Some of these are of 
Classic and others of nondescript Gothic architecture. 
"Such walks that end in disagreeable objects" are to be 
adorned with these ruins which " may either be painted upon 
canvas, or actually built in that manner with brick, and 
covered with plastering in imitation of stone." Ruins 
were freely used as decorative accessories by the contempor- 
ary French masters of design, and the English carvers were 
adopting them in their work. Chippendale makes great 
use of ruins as well as the other details of rococo ornament. 
The gardens of the day supplied the designers with other 
suggestions besides floral devices and ruins. One of Lang- 
ley's plates shows " a fountain and cascade after the grand 
manner at Versailles." He adds : " When figures of shell- 
work are erected in the midst of fountains, we receive a 
double pleasure of a fountain and cascade also by the waters 
agreeably murmuring down the rocky shells." It is this 
rock-and-shell work that is so characteristic of Louis Quinze 
work ; and of which Chippendale liberally avails himself. 
In 1742, Langley brings out Ancient Architecture. It 
is " restored and improved by a great variety of grand and 
useful designs entirely new in the Gothic Mode for the 
ornamenting of buildings and gardens exceeding everything 
that^s extant." The author's list of the " Encouragers " 
includes eighty-one of the nobility, two bishops, nine 
judges, two ladies of title, sixteen gentlemen, three carpen- 
ters, one smith and one mason. Horace Walpole's name 
appears on the list: he is usually credited with being re- 
sponsible for the Gothic revival, but he did not buy Straw^ 
berry Hill till six years after this date, and not till 1750 

422 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

does he announce : " I am going to build a little Gothic 
castle." The truth is that he merely infused new life into 
the fashion, for, in 1756, Ware says : "The Gothic is dis- 
tinguished from the antique architecture by its ornaments 
being whimsical and its profiles incorrect. The inventors 




CHIPPENDALE CHAIR 
K oTMr. Charlo R. V/um, Salem, Man 



of it probably thought they exceeded the Grecian method, 
and some of late have seemed, by their fondness for Gothic 
edifices, to be of the same opinion ; but this was but a ca- 
price, and, to the credit of our taste, is going out of fash- 
ion again as hastily as it came in. . . . The error of the 
late taste has been in attempting to bring the Gothic into 
use in smaller buildings, in which it can never look well." 
The influential list of Langley's " Encouragers " shows 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the fashionable vogue of the so-called Gothic in -1742. 
Mrs. Delany's letters also show that Walpole was follow- 
ing rather than introducing a style. In 1754, she writes: 
" I am working stools in worsted chenille for the Gothic 
cell." Two years later, in describing Lady Oxford's house, 
she mentions a great Gothic hall, and adds : " The chapel 
is to be new built in the same taste ; the alterations Lady 
Oxford made in this place cost above 40,000 pounds, and 
her apartment is the prettiest thing I ever saw, consisting 
of a skylight antechamber or vestibule, adorned in the 
Gothic way. The rooms that encompass it are a library, 
a dressing-room, a room fitted up with china and Japan of 
the rarest kinds, and a Gothic room full of charming pic- 
tures, and embellished with everything that can make it 
look gay and pleasant: it is lighted by a window some- 
thing of the Venetian kind, but prettier, and the whole 
breadth of one side of the room." 

Again, in 1758, she writes: "My closet is just hung 
with crimson paper, a small pattern that looks like velvet; 
as soon as dry, I shall put up my pictures ; and I am going 
to make a wreath to go round the circular window in the 
chapel, of oak branches, vines and corn ; the benches for 
the servants are fixed, the chairs for the upper part of the 
chapel are a whim of mine, but I am not sure till I see a 
pattern chair that I shall like it ; it is to be in the shape 
and ornamented like a Gothic arch." 

Walpole was one of the few who recognized that the 
"Gothic" of his day was not the real thing. In 1790, the 
Gentleman's Magazine says : 

"Through the inability of his architects, particularly 
of Langley (who, though esteemed capital in his day, knew 
nothing of the art of constructing modern Gothic), his 

4H 




9* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ideas were never properly executed. Mr. Walpole often 
complained they were rather Moorish than Gothic; how- 
ever he could not at that day procure better assistance. He 
was always, however, among the first to depreciate his own 
architecture." 

It would seem that the English cabinet-makers of this 
period had fallen into the very reprehensible practice of 
making furniture without any reference to the interior 
decoration of the houses. Chinese, Gothic and French 
Renaissance schemes of decoration had played havoc with 
Classic ideals, and the sacred Five Orders were in danger of 
losing their authority even in England. In 1740, Langley 
calls attention to this in The City and Country Builder s and 
Workmen's Treasury of Designs : 

" The great pleasure that builders and workmen of all 
kinds (those called Cabinet^Makers, I think, only excepted), 
have of late years taken in the study of architecture has 
induced me to the compiling of this work. And indeed I 
am very sorry that cabinet-makers should have been supine 
herein; because of all small architectural works, none is 
more ornamental to buildings than theirs. 

" The evil genius that so presides over cabinet-makers as 
to direct them to persevere in such a pertinacious and stupid 
manner that the rules of architecture, from whence all 
beautiful proportions are deduced, are unworthy of their 
regard, I am at a loss to discover ; except Murcea, the God- 
dess of Sloth, acts that part and has thus influenced them 
to conceal their dronish, low-life, incapacities and prompt 
them, with the fox in the fable, to pronounce grapes sour 
that ripen out of their reach. 

" Cabinet-makers originally were no more than Spurious 
Indocible Chips, expelled by joiners for the superfluity of 

4*5 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

their sap, and who, by instilling stupid notions and prejudice 
to architecture into the minds of youth educated under them 
has been the cause that at this time 'tis a very great diffi- 
culty to find one in fifty of them that can make a book- 
case, etc., indispensably true after any one of the Five Orders 
without being obliged to a joiner for to set out the work 
and make his templets to work by. 

" But if these gentlemen persist much longer thus to de- 
spise the study of this noble art, the very basis and some of 
their trade, which now to many joiners is well understood, 
they will soon find the bad consequence of so doing and have 
time enough on their hands to repent of their folly. And 
more especially since that our nobility and gentry delight 
themselves now more than ever in the study of architecture 
which enables them to distinguish good work and work- 
men from assuming pretenders." 

He gives more than four hundred designs, including 
buffets, cisterns, chimney-pieces, pavements, frets, clocks, 
frames for marble tables " after the French manner,** marble 
and stone tables, for grottos, arbors in gardens, pedestals for 
sun-dials and busts, a chest of drawers, medal case, cabinet 
of drawers and a dressing-table all " enriched after the French 
manner." The dressing-table is also draped : this, as well as 
the table-frames, are most interesting as being frankly taken 
from the French and showing much of the carved orna- 
mentation that appears still further developed in Chippen- 
dale's book fourteen years later. 

Following these, come "eight designs of book-cases, 
which, if executed by a good joiner, and with beautiful 
materials, will have good effects, or even if by a cabinet- 
maker, provided that he understands how to proportion 
and work the Five Orders, which at this time, to the shame 

426 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of that trade be it spoken, there is not one in a hundred 
that ever employed a moment's thought therein, or knows 
the Tuscan from the Doric, or the Corinthian from the 
Composite Order, and more especially if the Doric freeze 




OrigtniUy belonging 
Albany, N. Y. S« page 



MAHOGANY CHAIRS 
) PhiUp Vm RenncUa, now owned by Mn. Edwird Rinkin tt Cbirry Hill, 



hath its triglyphs and mutules omitted. In short the ul- 
timate knowledge of these sort of workmen is generally 
seen to finish with a monstrous Cove, or an Astragal, crowned 
with a Cima Reversa, in an open pediment of stupid height. 
" When a Gentleman applies himself with a good design 
of a book-case, etc., made by an able architect, to most of 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the masters in this trade, they instantly condemn it and 
allege that 'tis not possible to make cabinet-works look 
well that are proportioned by the Rules of Architecture ; 
because, they say, the members will be too large and heavy, « 
etc., whereas the real truth is that they do not understand 
how to proportion and work the members of those designs 
and therefore advise the unwary to accept of such Stuff as 
their poor crazy capacities will enable them to make, and 
wherein *tis always seen that the magnitudes of their Coves 
and Cima Reversas (their darling finishing) are much 
larger members than any members of a regular cornice 
(even of the Tuscan Order) of the same height, wherefore 
'tis evident that all their assertions of this kind are used for 
nothing more than to conceal an infinite fund of stubborn 
ignorance which cannot be parallelled by any other set of 
mortals in the world." 

No examination of the influences that affected English 
work during the early part of the eighteenth century would 
be adequate unless it took into account the contemporary 
French school of design. The goldsmiths, artists and ar- 
chitects under the Regent and Louis XV. neglected Classi- 
cal authority and frankly adopted Chinese models in their 
designs, as well as Arabesques with ape-forms and floral de- 
vices. Watteau designed furniture and did not disdain 
Chinese panels. It must be remembered that he spent the 
year 171 9 in England. J. Pillement, who did so much 
Chinese work, found it worth while to bring out A New 
Book of Chinese Ornaments in London in 1755. 

Nearly every decorative artist of the day made some use 
of the Chinese. However, the masters of rocaille orna- 
mentation were most strongly to influence Chippendale, 
since England already had had her own Chinese craze. A 

428 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

most important leader of this school was J. A. Meissonier, 
who was designer of orfivrgrie to the king. Facility, 
power and entire lack of restraint characterised his designs. 
In 1754, Cochin, the engraver, published a satirical "sup- 
plication to goldsmiths, chisellers, carvers of woodwork for 
apartments, and others, by a society of architects." In 
this, the goldsmiths are begged, " when executing an arti- 




AN ARMCHAIR AND TWO SHERATON CHAIRS 



choke, or a head of celery in its natural size on some piece 
of carved work, to be good enough not to place beside it a 
hare as big as one's finger, a life-size lark, and a pheasant 
one-fourth or one-fifth of its natural size ; children of the 
same size as a vine-leaf; or figures of supposed natural size 
supported by a decorative flower that could scarcely bear a 
little bird without bending ; trees with trunks slimmer than 
one of their own leaves, and many other equally sensible 
things of the same kind. We should also be infinitely 
obliged to them if they would be good enough not to alter 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the uses of objects but to remember, for instance, that a 
chandelier should be straight and perpendicular, in order to 
carry the light, and not twisted as if somebody had 
wrenched it ; and that a socket-rim should be concave to 
receive the running wax and not convex to shed it back 
upon the chandelier ; and a multitude of other no less un- 
reasonable particulars that would take too long to men- 
tion. Similarly, carvers of the interior decorations of rooms 
are begged to be obliging enough, when executing their 
trophies, not to make a scythe smaller than an hour-glass, 
a hat or Basque-drum larger than a bass-viol, a man's head 
smaller than a rose, nor a sickle as large as a rake." 

In their supposed reply to this supplication, the follow- 
ers of the new design say in part : ". . It was necessary to 
find another kind of architecture in which every worker 
could distinguish himself and make the public acquainted 
with a way of becoming skillful that should be within 
everybody's reach ; nevertheless, accepted prejudices were 
not to be rudely shocked by the sudden production of 
novelties too remote from the reigning taste, thereby run- 
ning the risk of hissing. At first the famous Oppenord 
served us with great zeal. . . He made lavish use of our 
favourite ornaments and brought them into good credit. 
Even now he is useful to us, and there are some of us 
who take him for a model. . . We found a firmer support 
in the talents of the great Meissonier. It is true that the 
latter had studied in Italy, and consequently was not one of 
us, but as he had wisely preferred the taste of Borromini 
to the wearisome taste of the antique, he had thereby ap- 
proached us; for Borromini rendered the same service to 
Italy that we have to France, by introducing there an ar- 
chitecture gay and independent of all those rules that of old 

430 




"I 
n\ 



■ • • 




• • 


• * *A 


••• ••• 


• • 


• •• I 


•! • • 


• • 


• • 


! •^^ 


• • 




• # 


• • 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

were called good taste. Meissonier commenced to destroy 
all the straight lines that were used of old ; he turned and 
made the cornices bulge in every way ; he curved them 
above and below, before and behind, gave forms to all, 
even to the mouldings that seemed least susceptible of 
them; he invented contrasts; — that is to say, he banished 
symmetry, and made no two sides of the panels alike. On 
the contrary, these two sides seemed to be trying which 
could get farthest away, and the most strangely, from the 
straight line that till then they had been subject to." 

It is difficult for us to echo the irony ; — much less in- 
dignation — of the critic of this artist who exercised so great 
an influence on the decorative art of the eighteenth century. 
The charge of having been lacking in simplicity, of carry- 
ing to extreme limits curved lines, scrolls, shell-work and 
all that fantastic architecture of a period that had taken a 
dislike to everything that was dry and angular, does not 
trouble us, who, on the contrary, think that these artists 
carried spirit and grace very far. The designers of this 
school paid great attention to shell-work, just as those of 
the sixteenth century were particularly fond of architec- 
tural arrangements (and it was the latter taste that still 
dominated English design) and just as those of the follow- 
ing reign were fascinated by the garland and the quiver. 
The taste of the Regency is as attractive to the present 
generation as that of the Empire is chilling. Meissonier's 
lines are essentially voluptuous and almost as essentially 
feminine. Japanese art goes much further in the direction 
of contrasts and lack of equilibrium, and we do not con- 
demn it. The rocaille work is an orgy of all kinds of 
flowing lines, curves, cascades, shells, endive leaves and even 
clouds and smoke. Other decorators with less invention 

43 « 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

followed Meissonier, such as Michel-Rene, Stoldz and 
Chevillon. They also used the forms drawn from the 
shell, cabbage-leaf and prawn, but they added even more 
vague and flowing forms such as fountains, ostrich plumes, 
etc. La Joue is even a past master in the art of introduc- 
ing into a decorative panel a cascade that sometimes falls, 
no one knows whence, and breaks into pearled foam. 
Everything is an excuse for cascades ; neighing horses 
prancing in the bath, a dragon crawling against the base 
of a column and spouting water from open jaws, a hunted 
stag vomiting a stream of water into the round and grooved 
basin beside which he has taken refuge. 

We shall shortly see the tremendous influence that the 
new school of French design exercised on Chippendale, 
whose book appeared in the very year in which Cochin's 
criticism was written. Before leaving Meissonier, how- 
ever, attention should be called to the intimate relation- 
ship he insists on between interior decorations of apart- 
ments and their furniture. Take, for example, one of his 
plates, Projet de Porte d' Appartement fait pour Mme. la 
Baronne de Brezenvaly on page 47 of his Oeuvre. Here 
we have, a chair on each side of the door, besides a table 
with graceful cabriole legs and another chair in the room 
beyond. This furniture not only corresponds in its con- 
tours to those of the general decorative scheme, but the 
details of the carving on the framework are identical with 
those used on the walls. 

Of English cabinet-makers, the name that overshadows 
all others is that of Thomas Chippendale. Many of his 
successors gained a renown that has endured, but his name is 
popularly used as a generic term for almost all the furniture 
that was in vogue for more than half a century. It is 

432 



Www 



V V 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

strange that scarcely anything is known of one to whom 
such great influence and importance are now generally at- 
tributed. The very date of the book that brought Chip- 
pendale into notice is variously given, though there should 
be no question about this. His preface is dated March, 




CHIPPENDALE CHAIR AND HEPPELWHITE CARD TABLE 
Owned by MlM Ten E^ck, Albiny, N. Y. See page 461. 



1754, and in April, 1754, the Gentleman's Magazine an- 
nounces, among the new books on mechanics, T&e Gen- 
tleman's and Cabinet-Maker' s Directory, by Thomas Chip- 
pendale, ;^2-8-o. The third and last edition published 
by him appeared in 1762. In all probability, the author 
died soon after this. 

The only facts reported about him are that he was 
born in Worcestershire, went to London and found em- 
ployment as a joiner. There, in the reign of George I., 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

he was a successful carver and cabinet-maker. Some 
critics hold that he was already at work in 1720. If he 
was eminent in his craft during the reign of George I. (/. 
e.y before 1727), he can scarcely have been very active later 
than 1765, or more than forty years afterward. It is not 
therefore unreasonable to suppose that he was born about 
1695 and died about 1765, thus reaching man's natural 
term of life. 

During the second half of the century, there were cer- ' 
tainly two Chippendales, and probably several of the 
family at work. In 1826, George Smith, who was up- 
holsterer to the king, issued his Cabinet-Maker's Guide. In 
this he speaks of " the elder Mr. Chippendale ** and adds : 
" Mr. Thomas Chippendale (lately deceased) and known 
only amongst a few, possessed a very great degree of taste 
with great ability as a draughtsman and designer.** Thus 
we have specific evidence that there were at least two 
Chippendales, and that one, comparatively obscure, died 
shortly before 1826. The latter, although an able 
draughtsman and designer, is very unlikely to be the same 
individual that had published, seventy years before, a book 
that was plainly the work of a man already well estab- 
lished in business. The more reasonable conclusion is 
that at least two Chippendales were engaged in designing 
as well as making furniture. 

The lack of detailed information about Chippendale 
would argue that public interest in him was not very keen, 
and that the impression produced by his work on his con- 
temporaries and immediate successors was not profound. 
If his renown had been great, we should expect to find 
other workmen recommending themselves at home, and 
more especially on going to the colonies, as having been 

434 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

with him, and as being able to make his well-known fur- 
niture, so greatly in demand. We should also anticipate 
finding that furniture that was distinct in type from all that 
had gone before would bear the name of the femous de- 
signer, and that others would recognize his authority un- 
questioningly, and confessedly follow him. 

When we search for evidence on these points, we reach 
very curious results. Sheraton ( 1 79 1 ) says in his preface : 




AND SHKRATON CHAIRS 
Ste page 461. 



" I have seen one (book of design) which seems to have 
been published before Chippendale's. I infer this from 
the antique appearance of the furniture, for there is no 
date to it; but the title informs us that it was composed 
by a society of Cabinet-makers in London. " 

" Chippendale's book seems to be next in order to this, 
but the former is without comparison to it, either as to 
size or real merit. Chippendale's book has, it is true, 
given us the proportions of the Five Orders, and lines for 
two or three cases, which is all it pretends to relative to 
rules for drawing ; and, as for the designs, themselves, they 
are now wholly antiquated and laid aside, though possessed 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of great merit, according to the times in which they were 
executed. . . . 

" After Chippendale's work, there appeared, in the year 
sixty-five, a book of designs for chairs only, though it is 
called The Cabinet-Maker^ s real Friend and Companion^ 
as well as the Chairmaker's. . . • 

"The succeeding publication to this seems to be Ince 
and Mayhew's Book of Designs in Cabinet and Chair 
Workj with three plates containing some examples of fo- 
liage ornaments, intended for the young designer to copy 
from, but which can be of no service to any learner now, 
as they are such kind of ornaments as are wholly laid aside 
in the cabinet-branch, according to the present taste. The 
designs in cabinets and chairs are, of course, of the same 
cast, and therefore have suffered the same fate; yet, in jus- 
tice to the work, it may be said to have been a book of 
merit in its day, though much inferior to Chippendale's, 
which was a real original, as well as more extensive and 
masterly in its designs. . . . 

"In the year 1788 was published the Cabinet-Maker^ s 
and Upholsterer^ s Guide. But notwithstanding the late date 
of Heppelwhite*s book, if we compare some of the designs, 
particularly the chairs, with the newest taste, we shall find 
that this work has already caught the decline, and perhaps, 
in a little time, will suddenly die in the disorder." 

From the above testimony, which certainly is not hos- 
tile to Chippendale, we gather that, forty years after its ap- 
pearance, his book was entirely neglected, notwithstanding 
the real talent displayed. We also gather that Sheraton 
does not regard Chippendale as a great innovator who 
revolutionized the furniture of his day and introdticed a 
radically new style. Moreover, he considers the fiirniture 

436 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

in a certain book to be more antiquated than Chippen- 
dale's, and thence argues that it must, therefore, have been 
published before his. The fact is that the book referred 
to came out six years later than Chippendale's, and its de- 
signs are like the latter in general form. If, however, 
Sheraton is correct in saying that it does represent furniture 
in use before Chippendale published his work, we may 
safely conclude that it was only in the ornamental details 
that the furniture of the day was affected by the latter. 

George Smith published 'Designs for Household Furniture 
in 1808. In this, he bewails the fact that first-class artists 
do not (as they do in France) provide designs for the cabi- 
net-maker and upholsterer. He adds : " Very great en- 
couragement has been given of late by our Nobility and 
Gentry to various artists employed in cabinet-work, the 
good effects of which will, I doubt not, soon be felt ; for 
as the beauty of the Antique consists in the purity of de- 
sign, and what was pleasing centuries ago continues to be 
equally so now, so I do not despair of seeing a style of fur- 
niture produced in this country which shall be equally 
agreeable centuries hence." 

To Mr. Smith, whose unlovely productions were being 
bought by the Prince Regent, the nobility and gentry, it 
would have been a great surprise to learn that " Chippendale " 
styles, which he deemed buried beyond resurrection, 
would be equally pleasing a century after his own were de- 
servedly forgotten. It is remarkable that Chippendale 
might never have existed so far as Mr. Smith's generation 
was concerned. Eighteen years later, he finds that he him- 
self has become antiquated, but takes comfort from the 
fact that perfection has at last been attained! Describ- 
ing with some accuracy the sequence of styles in Eng- 

437 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

lish furniture since the close of the carved-oak period, he 
says: 

" At this period (Louis XIV.) the whole system seems 
to have given place to a style completely Arabesque, al- 
though blended with much grandeur peculiar to this taste, 
and brought to great perfection by the artists then em- 
ployed in its manufacture. The importation of it into 
England changed the whole feature of design as it related 
to household furniture. This taste continued almost un- 
changed through the reign of George II. and the earlier 
part of George III. The elder Mr. Chippendale was, I 
believe, the first author who favoured the public with a 
work consisting of designs drawn from this school, with 
great merit to himself, however defective the taste of the 
time might be. To this work succeeded that of Mr. Ince 
in the same style. From this period to the time of 
Messrs. R. and J. Adam, the same species of design con- 
tinued, with little or no alteration, until the researches of 
these scientific gentlemen in architecture and ornament 
were made public. A complete revolution in the taste of 
design immediately followed : the heavy panelled wall, the 
deeply coffered ceiling, although they offered an imposing 
and grand effect, gave way to the . introduction of a light 
Arabesque style and an ornament highly beautiful. But 
the period for the introduction of not only a chaste style in 
architecture, but likewise of ornament (and which extended 
to our domestic moveables) was reserved for the late Mr. 
James Wyatt, whose classic designs will carry his name to 
posterity with unimpaired approbation. Here it would ap- 
pear almost unnecessary for invention to have gone farther, 
but perfection, it appears, was reserved for this present 
period.** 

43« 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Apart from his book, which brought him into tem- 
porary prominence, Chippendale seems to have been an 
obscurely prosperous tradesman who catered to the tastes of 




DOUBLE CORNER CHAIR 
Ovrncd by Mi. Walter Hmmei, Wethcniicid, Ctmn. See page 460. 

the day. His biographer in the exhaustive Dictionary of 
National Biography can find little more to say of him than 
that he flourished circa 1760. He was not the only suc- 
cessful member of his craft in London during the first half 
of the eighteenth century, if we may believe the following 
advertisement in a New York paper in 1 77 1 : 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

" To-morrow will be sold at public vendue at the Mer- 
chants' Coffee house at twelve o'clock by John Applegate, 
a very neat set of carved mahogany chairs, one carved and 
gilt sideboard table, and a Chinese hanging bookcase with 
several other things. N. B. The back of the chairs is done 
after the pattern of some of the Queen's ; a sketch of which 
chair will be shown at the time of the sale. The chairs 
and other things were made by a person in the Jersies who 
served his time and afterwards was eleven years foreman to 
the great and eminent cabinet-maker, William Hallet, Esq.; 
that bought the fine estate of the Duke of Shandos, called 
Cannon's, in Middlesex ; was afterwards a master for about 
twenty years in London and hath been two years in the 
Jersies. He will receive any orders for furniture, viz., 
Plate cases or best Chinese hanging book-cases or on frames ; 
French elbow chairs, ribbon back, Gothic or any sort of 
chairs, likewise carved, glass frames, gerrandoles, bracket 
branches, etc." 

Who was Willim Hallet, Esq.? The great Dictionary 
is silent concerning him, notwithstanding his purchase of 
the fine estate of the Duke of Chandos. The " person in 
the Jersies*' served him as foreman from 1738 to 1749. 
Were the chairs, with backs "done after the pattern of 
some of the Queen's," of Chippendale design ? If so, it ought 
to have been worth while to mention that fact if Chippen- 
dale was a recognized authority, and to have claimed the lat- 
ter as a master rather than " the great and eminent cabinet- 
maker, William Hallet, Esq.'* Even if the advertisement 
was a catch-penny scheme, it is plain that in 1771 the 
name of Hallet was considered a better bait in New York 
than that of Chippendale ; and this was only nine years after 
the latter had issued the third edition of his book. It is 

440 




Hi 

< H I 

o 3 I 
oh; 



^ * I. 

. 1- ». 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

also worthy of note that no tradesman whose advertisement 
I have seen in an American paper prior to the Revolution 
ever mentions the name of Chippendale in recommending 
home-made or imported fUrniture. 

We have now arrived at the following facts : before 
Chippendale brought out his book in 1754, he was no 
more prominent than many another prosperous cabinet- 
maker; thirty-five years later, whatever was original and 
peculiar to him in that work had become "wholly anti- 
quated and laid aside,'* and, lastly, he never attained such a 
commanding position in his profession or trade as did 
George Kent in his, for instance. 

We have seen that hitherto most of the new designs in 
furniture originated with artists or architects. Chippendale 
was only a not-very-eminent carver and cabinet-maker. 
The list of subscribers to his book includes, besides nobility, 
gentry, joiners and carpenters, eighty-three London cabinet- 
makers, ten carvers and two engravers. M. Darly is one 
of the engravers; and W. Ince is one of the cabinet-makers. 
Ince was soon to publish an important book of designs to 
advertise the product of his own firm ; and Darly was Chip- 
pendale's assistant, who engraved and designed some of his 
plates. In 1773, he published A Complete Body of Architect 
ture^ " embellished with a great variety of ornaments, com- 
piled, drawn and engraved by Matthias Darly, Professor of 
Ornament." In the preface he says : " Ornamental draw- 
ing (drawing of ornament) has been too long neglected in 
this trading country and great losses have been sustained 
in many of our manufactures for want of it. On the 
knowledge of true embellishment depends the improve- 
ment of every article, and I do aver that this kingdom 
is more indebted to a Rich'd Langcake (who is now 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

teaching the art of design in France) than to a Sir Godfrey 
Kneller." 

Chippendale has evidently taken to heart Langley's 
savage attack on the English cabinet-makers for their ignor- 
ance of the sacred Five Orders (see page 425). It has 
been a puzzle to many critics to account for the fact that 
he devotes much space to elucidating that style of architec- 
ture and then proceeds to give designs of furniture in the 
prevailing bastard Gothic and Chinese taste, and ornament 
the rest with French Renaissance and rocaille details. When 
we remember Langley's wholesale condemnation, however, 
Chippendale's lip-service is perfectly explicable. In his 
preface, the latter says : 

" Of all the arts which are either improved or orna- 
mented by Architecture, that of Cabinet-making is not 
only the most useful and ornamental, but capable of re- 
ceiving as great Assistance from it as any whatever. I 
have therefore prefixed to the following designs a short 
Explanation of the Five Orders. Without an acquaintance 
with this Science and some Knowledge of the Rules of 
Perspective, the Cabinet-maker cannot make the Designs 
of his work intelligible, nor shew in a little Compass, the 
whole Conduct and Effect of the Piece. These, therefore, 
ought to be carefully studied by everyone who would 
excel in this Branch, since they are the very Soul and 
Basis of his Art.'* 

Having thus done his best to conciliate the architects, 
he proceeds to explain his purpose in publishing : 

" The Title-Page has already called the following 
Work, * The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director,' as 
being calculated to assist the one in the Choice, and the 
other in the Execution of the Designs : Which are so 

44* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

contrived, that if no one Drawing should singly answer the 
Gentleman's Taste, there will yet be found a variety of 
Hints sufficient to construct a new one/' 

" In other words, the main object is to induce the gentle- 
men to buy! First discover which model he likes and 
then suit him with the enrichment ; the ornamentations are 
not necessarily individually appropriate, but are interchange- 
able. If his taste runs to the Chinese now in vogue, here 
is an assortment of frets from which to select ; if Gothic, 
here are a few examples of window tracery; if he likes 
florid carving, here is a storehouse of suggestions conveyed 
from the French Renaissance! 

" I have been encouraged to begin and carry on this 
Work not only by Persons of Distinction, but of eminent 
taste for Performances of this sort ; who have, upon many 
Occasions, signified some Surprise and Regret, that an Art 
capable of so much Perfection and Refinement, should be 
executed with so little Propriety and Elegance. 

"Upon the whole, I have here given no Design but 
what may be executed with Advantage by the Hands of a 
skilful Workman, though some of the Profession have been 
diligent enough to represent them (especially those after the 
Gothic and Chinese Manner) as so many specious Draw- 
ings, impossible to be worked off by any Mechanic what- 
soever. I will not scruple to attribute this to Malice, 
Ignorance, and Inability ; and I am confident I can con- 
vince all Noblemen, Gentlemen and others, who will honour 
me with their Commands, that every Design in the Book 
can be improved, both as to beauty and Enrichment, in the 
execution of it, by 

" Their most Obedient Servant, 

" Thomas Chippendale/' 

443 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

It is to be noted that though Chippendale puts forth 
these designs as within the ability of every good workman 
to execute, he does not pretend that they have already been 
produced, except in some instances which he specifies. In 




many cases his words clearly imply that the designs have 
yet to take concrete form, and in at least two instances 
this is distinctly stated. Thus: "Gothic bookcase: one 
of the best of its kind, and would give me great pleasure 
to see it executed, as I doubt not its making an exceeding 
genteel and grand appearance." 

Another desk and bookcase is " in the Chinese taste 
and will look extremely well." Considering the "malice, 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ignorance and inability " of his rivals, we should expect 
him to specify the designs that have actually been carried 
out, in refutation of their assertions, but he instances only 
the following : " A Design of a Dressing Table for a Lady. 
Two Dressing Tables have been made of Rosewood from 
this Design, which gave an entire satisfaction. All the 
Ornaments were gilt." 

"Design for a couch bed. . . . N. B. This couch 
was made for an alcove in Lord Pembroke's House, at 
Whitehall." " A bed that has been made for the Earls of 
Dumfries and Morton." 

" Three designs of chairs with Ribband Backs. Sev- 
eral sets have been made, which have given entire satisfac- 
tion." 

It is to be noted that though Chippendale insists on the 
practicability of all his designs without exception, yet in his 
instructions he frequently recognizes that the carving may 
be excessive. He often says that the decoration may be 
reduced, if necessary, without diminishing the beauty of 
the design. A typical suggestion reads : " The ornaments 
may be omitted if thought superfluous." Above all else, 
Chippendale was a carver and gilder : that fact is stamped 
on every plate. It would be almost impossible to over-esti- 
mate the importance he attaches to carving. A few exam- 
ples from his own instructions will make this clear : " A 
Design of a Sofa for a grand Apartment, and will require 
Great Care in the Execution, to make the several Parts 
come in such a Manner that all the Ornaments join with- 
out the least Fault ; and if the Embossments all along are 
rightly managed, and gilt with burnished Gold, the whole 
will have a noble Appearance. The Carving at the Top 
is the Emblem of Watchfulness, Assiduity and Rest. The 

445 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Pillows and Cushions must not be omitted, though they 
are not in the Design. I would advise the workman to 
make a model of it at large before he begins to execute it." 
Here not only the carver, but the sculptor and clay-mod- 
eller speaks ! " Thirteen Designs of Cornices for Beds or 
Windows," some of them are crown-shaped, and the carved 
ornaments include the twisted leaf, urn plain and draped, 
eagle, birds billing, grotesque head, monkey holding a 
husk garland in his mouth, and birds with long tails and 
bills. Among eighteen other beds one " may be gilt or 
covered with the same stuff as the curtains; " another has 
pillars "composed of reeds with a palm branch twisted 
round." Of a couch with canopy, he says : " If the cur- 
tains and valances are adorned with large gold fringe and 
tassels and the ornaments gilt with burnished gold, it will 
look very grand." A design for a commode table and two 
candle-stands is very ornate : " The Bas Relief in the Mid- 
dle may be carved in Wood or cast in Brass or painted on 
Wood or Copper. That part in the middle may be a door 
with ornaments on it and the End parts in the same man- 
ner. On the top of the commode is a design of a Sur-tout, 
to be made in Silver. A candlestand at each end is very 
proper." The commode contains a panel representing three 
naked boys playing and landscape behind them, framed in 
garlands. The " sur-tout " is a kind of candelabrum. One 
candlestand has dolphins at its base, their tails curling up- 
ward, and two boys climbing a tree above which are icicles 
or dropping water. The other represents a woman stand- 
ing upon a sort of stump and clasping a branch upon which 
the candlestand rests. 

" A Toilet or Dressing-box for a Lady. . . . The or- 
naments should be gilt in burnished gold, or the whole 

446 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

work may be Japanned and the drapery may be silk dam- 
ask with gold fringes and tassels/* Another toilet: "The 
glass, made to come forward with folding Hinges is in a 
carved frame, and stands in a compartment that rests upon 
a plinth, between which are small drawers. The Drapery 




ONE OF A SET OF MAHOGANY CHAIRS 
Belonging to Prof. Henry P. Archer, Charleston, S. C. See page 464. 



is supported by Cupids, and the Petticoat goes behind the 
Feet of the Table, which looks better. The ornamental 
parts may be gilt in burnished gold or Japanned." A 
China case in the Chinese style, " may be of soft wood and 
Japanned, or painted and partly gilt." A china case " very 
proper for a lady's dressing-room may be made of any soft 
wood and Japanned any colour." Chandeliers : " They 
are generally made of glass and sometimes of brass. But 



447 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

if neatly done in wood, and gilt in burnished gold, would 
look better, and come much cheaper/* Frame for marble 
slab supported by Caryatides, Dove Entablature with Trig- 
lyphs and Metopes, ram's head and garland. Another 
" supported by two piping Fauns, leaning against two vines, 
intermixed with foliage, etc. It will have a grand ap- 
pearance if executed with judgment and neatly gilt.*' One 
girandole " requires great care in the execution. The 
Imbossments must be very bold and the Foliage neatly laid 
down, and the whole properly relieved. The Top may be 
gilt, as likewise some of the other ornamental parts.'* 
Picture frames, elaborately carved with emblems appropri- 
ate to the subject on the canvas, were also gilded. Where 
gilding cannot be used, Chippendale obtains its effect by 
the free use of brass, the importance of which he strongly 
accentuates. 

A carver and gilder with a considerable leaven of up- 
holstery ! That is the impression gained from a careful pe- 
rusal of Chippendale's text. A maze of contours and forms, 
a haze of blue and red and a blaze of gold ! Carving and 
colour are the striking characteristics, and the carving con- 
tains exactly the same faults complained of by Meissonier's 
satirist. The crow with the cheese at the top of a mirror- 
frame is twice as big as the insidious fox below ; in another, 
the bunch of grapes that the fox maligned is bigger than 
himself. It also hangs so close and so menacingly above 
him that he seems to be crawling from under it in appre- 
hension, though it is easily within his reach. It would be 
puzzling to account for the similarity between the decora- 
tive details of the work of Chippendale and that of a foreign 
master if neither could be shown to have borrowed from 
the other. It becomes a very simple matter, however, 

448 




CHIPPENDALE STANDS 
In Memerial Hall, PhilaJiIpiia, Pa. Stt page 4^g. 

SETTEE 

O^i-nrd by Mrs. John Marshall Helcem/tr, HartJhrJ, Conn Srt fagi ^yp. 



1 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

when we place the designs of the two side by side, and 
find that the chair that Meissonier designed for Mnie. de 
Brezenval in 1735 (see page 432) is boldly transferred by 
Chippendale to his book without acknowledgment and is 
simply called a French chair. The form and carving are 
identical; the only difference is that Chippendale adds an 
extra flourish where even Meissonier refrained. An ornate 
canape y executed in 1735 for the Grand Marshal of Poland, 
is also manifestly the original of Chippendale's design of 
his "sofa for a grand apartment." In this case, however, 
he has stuffed the arms and added some carving on the top. 
Other designs of Meissonier's to which Chippendale is in- 
debted are the picture frames for the King's portrait and 
the Royal Hunt. Of these Chippendale has made free 
use. One of the trophies, consisting of a hunting-horn, 
stag's head, gun and net, pleases him sufficiently to be 
adopted in its entirety. Meissonier's designs, especially in 
his Livre de Legumes and Livre d* OrnementSy contain chutes 
and swags of bell-flower and laurel, shell-work, fountains, 
colonnades, balconies, balustrading, flights of steps, acanthus 
and other flowers, fruits, human figures, birds, animals, 
scroll-work, dripping and falling water, feathers, flags, 
musical instruments, weapons and implements. Some of 
the falling water and fragmentary peristyle effects of which 
Chippendale is so fond in his carved frames are particularly 
noticeable. Another plate that must have struck Chippen- 
dale's attention shows an elaborate surtout made for the 
Duke of Kingston in 1735. The ornamental details in- 
clude dripping water, fruits, fish, vegetables, dead game, 
shell, cupids and all the spiky scroll-work characteristic of 
Meissonier. It must be remembered that Chippendale's 
confessed aim is to serve the nobility and gentry. If the 

449 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

latter, therefore, show any marked favour to the work of 
a foreign artist, it surely would be worth while to follow 
in the latter's footsteps. Why should the Duke of Kings- 
ton and others be forced to go to Paris, when we have 
carvers in London who are perfectly able to do that kind 
of work, and when all the material is at hand for the most 
extravagant carved work that can be conceived ? If surtouts 
are in demand, Chippendale can supply a design for one in 
silver for the top of a commode. 

The design is found among Meissonier's plates, but 
Chippendale has introduced slight modifications in the 
proportions. Although Chippendale owed so much to 
Meissonier, he also went to others for inspiration. 
Marot's tall clock-cases were a great help in designing his 
own. The fluttering ribbon adopted in the backs of chairs 
occurs as a decorative accessory in a book of designs by 
Berain, Le Moyne and Chauveau, and is used by several 
of their successors ; and Boucher, Ranson and Lalond's book 
is a treasure-house of details for ornate beds and sofas. 
When, therefore, Chippendale says: "In executing many 
of the drawings, my pencil has but faintly copied out 
these images that my fancy suggested,*' he assumes more 
originality than he is justly entitled to. 

Carving was of supreme importance at this period. 
One of the early English books on furniture was published 
in 1739 by William Jones, an architect. The carver is 
the workman that he had chiefly in mind, the designs be- 
ing for chimney-pieces, slab-tables, pier-glasses, tabernacle- 
frames, ceilings, etc. The same remark applies to Mathias 
Lock's New Book of Ornaments (London, 1752), and to 
several similar books that appeared before 1760 by 
Lairesse, Halfpenny, Swan, Edwards' and Darly, Thomas 

450 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Johnson, William Jones and A. Rossis. Lairesse, Lock 
and Johnson were carvers only. We have already seen 
that able carvers of this school came to the colonies. A 
notice of an elaborate piece of wood-carving by one of 
these appears in the Maryland Gazette for January 7, 1762. 
It is worth quoting here: 




SCREEN, TABLE THAT BELONGED TO REBECCA MOTTE, AND CHAIR 
OwDcd by MIn Susan Ptingle, Charlacon, S. C. Sec page 471. 



" Last month died here, Mr. Henry Crouch, Carver, 
who was deemed by good judges to be as ingenious an artist 
at his business as any in the king's dominions. Some months 
before he died, he employed himself in cutting or raising out 
of the solid wood, a number of figures to put over a mantle 
piece. In the centre, sits Britannia on a pedestal (to which 
hangs a medal with the bust of Mr. Pitt) amid the trophies 
of war, with a sceptre in one of her hands, and an olive branch 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

in the other ; on her right, in a prostrate posture, is a female 
figure representing France, offering a scroll at the feet of 
Britannia; a little further off lies a figure representing 
Envy, struck dead by Jupiter, who sits above w^ith a pair 
of scales in his hand ; on the same side is Ceres w^ith the 
Cornucopia pouring out her plenty to Britannia ; Fame with 
her trumpet ; and several other curious figures. On the left 
of Britannia, is Victory introducing Peace ; Minerva ; For- 
titude ; Neptune ; Mercury ; and sundry other figures ; old 
Time above, with a scythe in one hand and a pair of callipers 
in the other, measuring the globe. It has a neat carved 
border, and canopy at top, with curtains folded. The 
whole executed in so masterly a taste, and with such sym- 
metry of parts, that it would be an ornament even in a 
palace. And although Mr. Crouch had very little notice 
taken of him, and lived somewhat obscurely, yet it must be 
allowed, that He Cut A Good Figure In Life.*' 

The question now arises : " What is Chippendale fur- 
niture?** Judging from his own text, he scarcely made 
any use of mahogany. That wood is mentioned only once : 
" Six designs of chairs for halls, passages or summer-houses. 
They may be made either of mahogany, or any other woody 
and painted y and have commonly wooden seats.** Marquetry, 
or any enrichment by inlaying or painting, is never used : 
Chippendale takes no more notice of it than if it had never 
existed. For his effects, he depends entirely on the beauty 
of tapestry and other coverings and drapery, bright metal 
mounts, and, above all, carving and gilding. The amount 
of skilled labour required in the execution of the designs in 
his book naturally rendered that class of furniture very ex- 
pensive, and therefore within the means of the rich only. 
Consequently, relatively little of such ornate work was ever 

45» 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

produced ; it was all made to order, and it is doubtful if a 
single piece after these designs that issued from Chippen- 
dale's workshop ever crossed the Atlantic. It would be an 
error, however, to assume that he confined his labours to 
furniture of such florid ornamentation. The mere feet that 
he had supplied several members of the aristocracy with 
chairs and beds of his own design shows that he was a cabi- 
net-maker of some standing and had worked up a prosper- 
ous business. The furniture that he had been making for 
many years, in common with many others of his craft, was 
so well known that there would have been no novelty in 
including those designs in his book : he could not claim 
any credit from existing styles. His originality lies in the 
elaboration of those models ; and yet posterity calls nearly 
all the developments of Queen Anne styles by his name. 
He probably continued making the old furniture for cus- 
tomers of moderate means until the end of his life. In 
South Kensington Museum, there are heavy chairs with the 
strongly accented cabriole curves in the legs, and plain 
club, hoof, or ball-and-claw feet, sometimes entirely desti- 
tute of carving, that are attributed to all dates up to 1780. 
Not a single table or chair in his book shows the legs or 
feet that occur so often among our illustrations and are con- 
sidered as so distinctly " Chippendale.'* Feet like those on 
pages 276 and 277 never occur in his book ; and the ball- 
and-claw is only found once, and that is on a tea-caddy 
which is of such little importance as to be ignored in his 
notes and descriptions of the plates. The lion's paw on a 
flattened bulb or pad appears on a desk and book-case, a 
bed, and a " French " chair. It is noticeable, however, 
that all these plates are dated 1753 and are therefore among 
his earliest. The only hoof-feet figured are those of a goat 

453 



THE FURNITURE OF- OUR FOREFATHERS 

that terminate the legs of a toilet-table, and in this case 
there is a reason for their presence, since satyrs are carved 
on the cabriole curves above. When, therefore, writers tell 




FIELD BED 
Owned by Stqihen ^nrd, now in Ginrd CoUegc, Philaddplui. Sec pige 47*. 

US that Chippendale was especially fond of the ball-and-claw 
foot, it is plain that they have in mind the general furniture 
of the day that he and his contemporaries made for the mul- ' 
titude, and not the especial furniture of French ornamen- 
tation that he wanted to make for the fashionable world. 




BOOKCASE AND SECRETARY 
OtuMfJ by Miss Jtiiie Calby, Netti Tvri, Sn pagi 4sg. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

On looking through the first edition of Chippendale's 
book, we cannot fail to notice the preponderance of Chi- 
nese and Gothic designs. There are no less than twenty- 
eight of the former and twenty of the latter so designated, 
and, in addition to these, we find two Gothic library book- 
cases and three Gothic sideboaid tables. Four hanging- 
shelves and several " China shelves,"candle stands and fire- 
screens are distinctly Chinese, as is also a ** library case and 
book-case,** while a number of " gerandoles," pier-glass 
frames and "frames for marble slabs" (console-tables) are 
adorned with whimsical Chinese ornaments and figures. 
Gothic and Chinese cornices also appear. The fret, Gothic 
or Chinese, and sometimes a mixture of both styles, occurs 
as a border upon tea-trays, tables, bookcases, ch ests-of-draw- 
ers, dressing-cases, cabinets, clothes-chests, hanging-selves, 
clock-cases, fire-screens, etc., etc. 

The student must keep in mind the fact that Chippen- 
dale does not attempt to give illustrations of the ordinary 
styles of furniture that he and others were making. If we 
were to try to form any idea of contemporary furniture by 
his book alone, we should say that he knew nothing of 
Windsor chairs, or round-about chairs, or arm-chairs, or 
wing-chairs, or rocking-chairs, or foot-stools, or washstands, 
or knife-boxes, or dining-tables, or corner cupboards, or 
work-tables, or dumb-waiters, or cradles, or press-bedsteads, 
or spinets. We should say that turned work was unknown ; 
that the chairs never had horizontal bars in the backs, 
either plain or pierced ; that they never had shaped un- 
pierced splats ; that stretchers were of very rare occurrence ; 
and that the furniture was never inlaid, but carved with 
Gothic, Chinese and Louis Quinze ornaments exclusively. 
We cannot help regretting that he did not give us exam- 

455 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

pies of what was already in fashion, instead of what he 
would like to introduce. In France, the works of Boucher 
jils and NeufForge give an exact idea of the interiors of their 
day ; they represent the singular forms of the Louis Quinze 
period, and are not the xm^ and excessively ornate style 
found in Salembier, Cau^^et and others. It is only Chip- 
pendale^s chairs, however, that retain much semblance to 
their parent stock, and it is precisely because he restrained 
his exuberance to some extent and retained the general 
outlines that had gradually developed, that they have en- 
dured, while his Gothic and Chinese novelties and extrav- 
agances were soon forgotten. His patterns are all devel- 
opments of the crown-back and the " embowed *' or bow- 
topped chair (see pages 276 and 337). He paid great 
attention to the proportion between the splat and the open 
spaces on either side (the outlines of the splat keeping 
somewhat closely to the old jar form), and then pierced 
the splat in various patterns of tracery which he still 
further enriched with ornamental carving. In his designs, 
the old cabriole curves and heaviness of the legs are greatly 
reduced, and the general effect is one of much greater 
lightness than most of our illustrations. Most of the latter 
belong to the school from which his own were developed, 
and to his own early period. The designs in the back of the 
** Chippendale** chair are innumerable, though they all 
have a family likeness. Of those that appear here, the 
chair belonging to Miss Sherburne (see page 413) is, per- 
haps, the nearest in design to any in Chippendale's book. 

Between the first and the third edition of Chippen- 
dale*s book, works were published on the same subject by 
T. Johnson, Edwards and Darly, Ince and Mayhew and 
The Society of Upholsterers. They all give designs of 

456 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

what to-day we should call Chippendale furniture, but in 
his last edition the latter makes no complaint that others 
were copying him. Ince and Mayhew devote a number 
of plates to Gothic and Chinese designs for the prevailing 




CHAIRS FROM THE DINING-ROOM OF THE VAN RENSSELAER MANOR 

HOUSE 

Owned by Mr. William Biyird Van Rennelaer, AUuny, N, V. See page 469. 



taste, and Louis Quinze ornamentation is adopted by them 
all. 

We cannot hope to find any of the furniture answering 
to Chippendale's published designs in this country, with the 
exception of his chairs and simpler forms of tables, book- 
cases, etc. An examination of the furniture in South Ken- 
sington that is confidently attributed to Chippendale shows 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

that it is entirely difFerent in character to what appears 
in his book. Some of the varieties of mirrors made dur- 
ing the eighteenth century face page 450. Even the most 
ornate of these has much less intricate carving than Chip- 
pendale frequently designs. 

A plate with three pieces of such ordinary furniture 
as came from Chippendale's workshop faces page 438. 
On the left is a mahogany square table with pierced gal- 
lery; it is supported by one baluster leg with tripod 
cabriole feet ending in claws and carved with the acanthus 
leaf ornament. It was made about 1740. In the middle 
is a mahogany writing-cabinet with folding flap and 
drawers, the interior being fitted with pigeon-holes and re- 
ceptacles for writing materials. It is supported by four 
cabriole legs with claw-and-ball feet carved with the 
acanthus leaf and mounted with brass lock-plates, 
handles and escutcheons. It was made about 1750. It 
will be noticed that here, as in most cases, Chippendale 
has introduced no new form. The Museum possesses a 
similar writing-case of the Anglo-Dutch school of about 
1 700. It is almost identical with that belonging to Wil- 
liam Penn facing page 82. The third piece is a mahog- 
any table. It is eight-foil in shape, with a raised and 
moulded edge, and is carved in the centre with a leaf, floral 
and diaper ornament. Like the other table, it is sup- 
ported by one baluster leg with tripod cabriole feet ending 
in ball-and-claws, and ornamented with carved acanthus. 
It was made before 1750. A somewhat similar table is in 
possession of Mr. H. E. Bowles of Boston. 

A handsome bookcase and secretary of this period, be- 
longing to Miss Sherburne, Warner House, Portsmouth, 
N, H., faces page 432. When let down, the leaf forms a 

458 



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THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

writing slab that is lower than usual. The little pillars in 
the front conceal the usual secret receptacles. This is a 
beautifully proportioned piece of furniture with handsome 
brasses and a band of carving below the cornice. Another 
mahogany bookcase and secretary, belonging to Miss Jes- 
sie Colby, New York, faces page 454. The doors of the 
bookcase have characteristic Gothic window tracery and 
the pigeon holes have Gothic outlines, while the pediment 
is Classic and the feet are carved. When closed, the bureau 
looks like a chest with four drawers. The little knobs of 
the interior drawers are of ivory and the light facing is of 
satin-wood. The Heppelwhite chair standing beside it 
gives an idea of the unusual height of this piece. 

Three characteristic Chippendale pieces from the Me- 
morial Hall, Philadelphia, face page 448. In the centre 
is a mahogany lamp-stand with a hexagonal top surrounded 
by a carved and pierced gallery. The height of the sup- 
porting column is 3 feet j% inches, the spread of the tripod 
ball-and-claw feet 20 inches, and the diameter of the top 
1 3 J^ inches. The small mahogany tea-kettle stand to the 
left is of the same period. The octagonal top with a raised 
edge is 16 inches in diameter. It is only 24 inches high. 
On the same plate is a handsome Chippendale mahogany 
settee, belonging to Mrs. John Marshall Holcombe of 
Hartford. It is in the form of a double armchair with 
moulded and carved backs terminating in scrolls and open- 
work back panels carved. South Kensington possesses several 
pieces of this character attributed to dates between 1750 
and 1770. 

A settee of very similar character faces page 434. It 
originally belonged to John Hancock and is now in the 
rooms of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, 

459 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Mass. The carved heads that terminate the arms are almost 
identical with those on the chair on page 65. They may 
also be compared with the carved Chinese chair facing 
page 424. The frame is of walnut. The mahogany articles 
on the plate facing page 440 also belong to Mrs. John 
Marshall Holcombe of Hartford. To the left is a table 
with shaped top and turned baluster supported by three 
" snake feet ; '* the centre table is carved with a coat-of- 
arms, the initials M. E. and the date 1748. To the right 
is a tea-kettle stand with pierced gallery and carved cabriole 
ball-and-claw feet. These tables are all small, and good 
specimens of Chippendale's ordinary work. 

Most of the chairs reproduced in this part are of the 
most familiar Chippendale patterns. The openwork in 
the backs closely resembles the designs published by Chip- 
pendale, though none are identical with those. The ma- 
hogany chair on page 420, owned by Mrs. John Bleecker 
Miller, New York, is interesting because of the pierced frets 
in the stretchers, which Chippendale would sometimes call 
Chinese and sometimes Gothic. The same pattern repeated 
in the legs is also characteristic of Chippendale chairs. 
The chair, however, is said to have formed part of the dowry 
of Cornelia Harring of Holland, who was married in 1765 
to the Hon. Samuel Jones, Recorder of New York. 

The corner, or round-about, chair has already been illus- 
trated. The semi-circular back consisting of a top rail, sup- 
ported by three turned columns and ornamentally pierced 
panels, and square seat with movable stuffed cushion is often 
found ; but it is quite unusual to find the back raised an- 
other stage to form a more comfortable big armchair, as 
in the exceedingly fine example owned by Mr. Walter 
Hosmer in Wethersfield, Conn. (See page 439.) 

460 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

On page 435 are four chairs from the South Kensing- 
ton Museum. The one on the extreme right is a Shera- 
ton model ; the two in the centre are characteristic Chip- 
pendales. The chair next to the Sheraton is of mahogany. 




MAHOGANY CHAIR 
i by Dr. George Rtai, Richmond, Vt, Set pige 47I. 



the back having a central support carved with floral and 
leaf ornament and pierced ; the front legs and outside bars 
of the back are iluted, the front legs being of square sec- 
tion and the back legs are curved and joined to the front by 
cross bars. The seat is covered with red leather held by 
brass studs. This is said to be in Chippendale's style late 
in the century. To the left is one of the earlier design. 
The arms are lower and the model is less elegant; but 
46. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

■ 

neither of these shows Chippendale at his best, for the pro- 
portion of open spaces on either side of the splat shows 
lack of the taste usually displayed. A model which does 
not appear in Chippendale's book, but which is always at- 
tributed to him, is illustrated on page 433. It is of ma- 
hogany with an open back consisting of moulded sides, 
pierced wavy top rail, and three horizontal back bars of 
similar shape and piercing. It has square, tapering front 
legs, curved back legs and plain stretchers. The date is 
about 1750. The four-back chair, of which this is a de- 
velopment, at a very early date had inlaid patterns similar 
to the piercing in this example. This belonged to the 
Visscher family of Albany. The table is a Heppelwhite, 
the legs being inlaid with the favourite chute of the bell- 
flower in satin-wood. This was owned by the Ten Eyck 
family. Both pieces belong to Miss Ten Eyck in Albany. 

On page 429 are three chairs. The centre one is a 
good model of Chippendale's best style, showing well-pro- 
portioned light and dark spaces. The chairs on either side, 
which belonged to the Fletcher family, are also frequently 
called Chippendale models, but they more properly belong 
to the Sheraton school, for it is well known that Chippen- 
dale abhorred the straight line and generally waved the tops 
of his chairs. 

A handsomely carved chair, said to have come from 
Hampton Court Palace and now in possession of Mr. 
Charles R. Waters of Salem, Mass., appears on page 423. 
The centre panel is carved and pierced with a complex 
knot, rosette and frill. The top rail is bow-shaped with a 
carved centre and leaf-scroll ends. There is a chair with a 
splat identical with this in South Kensington. The date 
given is about 1740. 

46* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Two mahogany chairs on page 417 belong to Mrs. 
Wainwright in Hartford, Conn. The one on the left is 
early, the shell being carved in the centre of the front rail, 
as in so many of the early cases of drawers. The tracery 
in the splat is similar to a model in South Kensington 
dated 1732. The difference in the curves of the arms of 
these two chairs is worth notice. The second one is simi- 




ADAM CHAIRS 
Owned by the Duke of DcTonihirc. Sec page 469. 



Jar to models dated about 1750. The tracery of the chair 
on the left, consisting of intersecting bands, should also be 
compared with two mahogany chairs owned by Stephen 
Girard, reproduced on page 414. 

Other chairs, with the pattern consisting of bands inter- 
lacing a hollow diamond, are on page 427. These origin- 
ally belonged to Philip Van Rensselaer, and are now owned 
by Mrs. Edward Rankin at Cherry Hill, Albany, N. Y. 
Another chair almost identical with these is on page 409. 
It is from the Glen-Sanders House, Scotia, New York. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Other variants of these patterns appear on pages 444 
and 447, showing chairs of the period. The first belongs 
to Mr. Stephen Schuyler, Troy Road, N. Y. ; the second 
to Prof. Henry P. Archer, of Charleston, S. C. This is 
similar to the chairs already represented on page 148. 

Two other Chippendale chairs appear with a sideboard 
facing page 480. The backs are almost square and the 
splat is pierced vertically. The South Kensington authori- 
ties date this model about 1 740. 

The sideboard, facing page 480, belongs to George 
Dagworthy Mayo, Esq., of Richmond, Va., and has been 
in the Mayo family for six generations. It is of mahogany 
inlaid with various coloured woods. 

In 1773, appeared The Works in Architecture of Robert 
and "James Adaniy in the preface of which we read : " The 
novelty and variety of the following designs will not only 
excuse but justify our conduct in communicating them to 
the world. We have not trod in the path of others, nor 
derived aid from their labours. In the works which we 
have had the honour to execute, we have not only met 
with the approbation of our employers, but even with the 
imitation of other artists, to such a degree, as in some 
measure to have brought about, in this country, a kind of 
revolution in the whole system of this useful and elegant art. 

" To enter upon an enquiry into the state of this art in 
Great Britain, till the late changes it has undergone, is no 
part of our present design. ... If we have any claim to 
approbation, we found it on this alone: That we have 
been able to seize, with some degree of success, the beauti- 
ful spirit of antiquity, and to transfuse it with novelty and 
variety, through all our numerous works." 

The Adam brothers were great admirers of the French 

464 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

architecture, and in their book they pay a special tribute 
to it. 

While not corresponding precisely with the Louis XVI. 
style, the Adam style is similar in many respects. The 




MEPPELWHITE CHAIR 
the houK of Mr. Chirlei R. Wiien, Silem, MiM. See page 471. 



Straight line, the arabesque scrollwork, the resplendent use 
of ormoulu, the gaiety and lightness, and the formality are 
common to both. 

It has been aptly E>aid that the essence of the Adam 
style is '* simplicity, elegant slenderness, and low relief." 
The urn is a singularly important ornament and the urn 
shape is seen everywhere. Other favourite details of orna- 
mentation are the bell-flower or husk appearing on the 

4«S 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

legs of furniture and frequently looped in festoons around 
girondelles, tripods, or in panels and ceilings ; delicate 
scrolls ; swags of drapery ; the fluted shell ; ovals and circu- 
lar medallions containing paintings; patera ^ or rosettes; 
the ram's head ; trophies ; fans ; Greek and Roman vases ; 
wreaths ; the honeysuckle ; musical instruments ; loops and 
bows of ribbon ; the acanthus ; the sunflower ; Greek bor- 
ders; goats; centaurs; fawns; caryatides; sea-horses ;^ grif- 
fins ; sphinxes ; dolphins ; and figures half-human, half-foli- 
age. Sometimes Adam employed heraldic devices in his 
ornamentation, to please the family who had ordered the 
work ; for example, the deer's head is used for Lord Mans- 
field. He is also fond of lions' and eagles' claws for feet. 

The Adam furniture was very rich and costly. It was 
cold, formal, and ornate, although colour played no little 
part in the scheme. Lord Derby's ** great withdrawing- 
room " is described by the designers as follows : " The 
ornaments of the ceiling and entablature are chiefly of stucco 
gilt, with a mixture of paintings. The grounds are covered 
with various tints. The frames for glasses, the pedestals 
and vases in the niches, and the girondelles on the piers, are 
of wood gilt. This room is hung with satin, and is un- 
doubtedly one of the most elegant in Europe, whether we 
consider the variety or the richness of its decorations." The 
chimney-piece in this room was of " statuary marble, inlaid 
with various coloured scagliola and brass ornaments, gilt in 
ormoulu. The glass frame over it is carved in wood and gilt." 

The ornaments of the ceiling in the Countess of Derby's 
dressing-room were partly in stucco and " partly painting, 
the colouring of the Etruscans." An ornate commode was 
also designed for this room in harmony with the wall 
decorations. 

466 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

It is certain that the Adam brothers ma^ no furniture, 
although they designed sofas, chairs, tables, sideboard tables, 
etc., etc. They even went so far, in their wish to make 
the room in perfect harmony, as to design the locks and 
handles for the doors. The vase and urn not only appear 




HEPPELWHITE CHAIRS BELONGING TO THE TEN BROECK AND 

GLEN-SANDERS FAMILIES 
Now owned by Dr. Herauo T. Myndene, Schenectady, N. Y. See pife 471. 

as motives of decoration, but the Adams were fond of hol- 
lowing out niches to contain pedestals bearing vases, which 
they also designed. 

They also give " a design of a glass frame and com- 
mode table ; upon which is placed a clock and vases, with 
branches for candles. These were executed for us in wood 
gilt, except the vases, which were of silver." Here the 
vases are urns standing upon griffins that sit back to back. 

4*7 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The mirror is in two pieces, and ornamented across the 
join with griffins, swinging lamps and swags of the bell- 
flower or husk. On the same plate are shown four other 
designs for candlesticks. One is a tripod six feet high, 
made in ormoulu^ and decorated with ram's heads and swags 
of the bell-flower, supporting a vase that holds three candle- 
sticks. Another, of the same height, carries two candles, 
and is decorated with the heads of women. The vase hold- 
ing the candles is surmounted by a sphinx. The other two 
are brackets and vases holding candles. The branches of 
one are of the acanthus and are decorated by strings of the 
bell-flower caught in the mouth of a child's head in the 
centre of the vase ; the second vase is ornamented with 
ram's heads and graceful festoons of grapes and grape- 
leaves. One of the plates shows a sideboard table which 
is called a bufl?et. It has neither back nor drawers. A 
wine-cooler, or cistern, stands below it, and upon it stand 
two knife-boxes. The silver upon it is arranged in the most 
formal manner. There are six wine-cups, two ewers, and 
four vases. The knife-boxes are open, and handsome plates 
stand upright upon the tops of them. Three lamps shown 
also in his book prove that Adam did not, however much he 
might condemn the taste of the past, withstand the Chinese 
influence. In these he has used the umbrella many times 
and very charmingly, and from the mouths of dolphins there 
hangs a string of little bells. 

The Adam style spread to America, although not in its 
most gorgeous manifestation, but it was only natural that 
the wealthy Englishmen settled here temporarily or perma- 
nently should have the desire to keep up with the fashions 
at home. There were many of the homes in the Southern 
colonies that were decorated with stucco work, and we have 

468 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

a special instance in two houses of Sir Charles Frankland. 
One on Garden Court Street and Bell Alley, Boston, was 
built in 1765. 

Two mahogany chairs in the Adam style, but without 
the enrichment, have already appeared facing page 112. 
This model dates from about 1 770. A similar one, from 
a private collection, with applied ornaments in ortnoulUy 
appears with two other Adam chairs on page 463. The date 
of the two latter is about 1 800. Two more chairs of later 
development of this form are given on page 457. They are 
from the Van Rensselaer Manor House and are owned by 
Mr. William Bayard Van Rensselaer, Albany, N. Y. The 
mahogany sofa facing page 472 has some of the Adam 
characteristics, especially the ram's head, the general shape 
of the legs (though the Adam leg is usually reeded) and the 
general outline of the frame. This piece is said to have 
belonged to Robert Morris and is now owned by the 
Misses Comegys, Philadelphia. 

The Cabinet'Maker and Upholsterer' s Guides by A. Hep- 
pelwhite & Co. (1788), is the next work that claims at- 
tention. The authors say in their preface : 

" We have exerted our utmost endeavours to produce a 
work which shall be useful to the mechanic and serviceable 
to the gentleman. With this view, after having fixed upon 
such articles as were necessary to a complete suit of furni- 
ture, our judgment was called forth in selecting such pat- 
terns as were most likely to be of general use and convey 
a just idea of English taste in furniture. 

" English taste and workmanship have, of late years, been 
much sought for by surrounding nations ; and the muta- 
bility of all things, but more especially of fashions, has 
rendered the labour of our predecessors in this line of little 

469 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

use ; nay, at this day, they can only tend to mislead those 
foreigners, who seek a knowledge of English taste in the 
various articles of household furniture. 

" The same reason in favour of this work, will apply 
also to many of our own Countrymen and Artizans, whose 
distance from the metropolis makes even an imperfect 
knowledge of its improvements acquired with much trouble 
and expense. Our labours will, we hope, tend to remove 
this difficulty ; and as our ideas of the useful was such 
articles as are generally serviceable in genteel life, we flat- 
ter ourselves the labour and pains we have bestowed on this 
work will not be considered as time uselessly spent. 

" To Residents in London, though our drawings are 
all new, yet, as we designedly followed the latest or most 
prevailing fashions only, purposely omitting such articles, 
whose recommendation was mere novelty, and perhaps a 
violation of all established rule, and steadily adhered to 
such articles only as are of general use and service, one 
principle hope for favour and encouragement will be, in 
having combined near three hundred diflferent patterns for 
furniture in a small space, and at a small price. In this 
instance we hope for reward ; and though we lay no claim 
to extraordinary merit in our designs, we flatter ourselves 
they will be found serviceable to young workmen in gen- 
eral, and occasionally to more experienced ones." 

It will be noticed that Heppelwhite claims very little 
originality for himself, or rather for his firm ; that the 
designs selected conform to, or accord with, the taste of 
the hour ; that the productions of his predecessors have 
passed entirely out of fashion ; and that there has been a 
demand for English furniture in other countries for several 
years. 

470 




< - 






<• to W 






THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The first thing that strikes our attention, on examining 
his plates, is that the straight line has taken the place of 
the curve, especially in the leg of the chair and table, and 
that there is a general feeling of slenderness in many of the 
patterns. The only time the claw-foot appears is on the 
foot of a bed pillar, and it is very roughly carved. The 
ball never occurs. The chair, the sofa and the sideboard 
seem to have been Heppelwhite's especial delight. He 
has a special fondness for shaping the back of his chairs 
like a shield and placing a pierced splat in the centre, or 
several horizontal and curved bars. These he calls " ban- 
ister-back chairs," typical specimens of vi^hich appear on 
page 467. These belong to Dr. Herman V. Mynderse, 
Schenectady, N. Y. Other chairs appear on pages 461 
and 465. The first belongs to Dr. George Ross, Rich- 
mond, Va., and the second to Mr. Charles R. Waters, 
Salem, Mass. The former chair came from Powhatan's 
Seat J Va., the home of the Mayos. 

The legs are usually the tapering " term ; " are some- 
times fluted and sometimes inlaid half-way down with the 
husk or bell-flower, and most frequently end in the term 
or " spade foot." The covering, whether of silk, linen, or 
leather, is fastened over the front rail by one or two rows 
of evenly studded brass nails, and upon the back of the 
chair appear such ornaments as the urn, with or without 
drapery, the lotus, the bell-flower, the acanthus, the rosette, 
the shell, and very often three feathers out of compliment 
to the Prince of Wales. Chairs with stuffed backs he calls 
" cabriole chairs " and two of the designs " have been exe- 
cuted with good effect for his Royal Highness the Prince 
of Wales. The enrichments may be either carved, carved 
and gilt, or japanned." His stuflFed chairs have, as a rule, 

471 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

very short arms, and sometimes the backs are surmounted 
by the famous three feathers, an urn, or a bow of ribbon. 
A typical Heppelwhite stuffed chair appears on page 
451 with a table that belonged to Rebecca Motte, a Revo- 
lutionary heroine of South Carolina, and a fire-screen of 
this period. These pieces are owned by Miss Susan Prin- 
gle, Charleston, S. C. A '* Field bed " with one of Hep- 




Bclonged to Simucl Buron, 



pelwhite's characteristic "sweeps" is reproduced on page 
454. It was owned by Stephen Girard ant* is now in 
Girard College, Philadelphia. 

A sofa with mixed Heppelwhite and Sheraton charac- 
teristics appears on this page. It was probably made by a 
native cabinet-maker, and belonged to Samuel Barron. It 
is now in the rooms of the Antiquarian Society, Concord, 
Mass. An interesting sofa faces page 466. It was bought 
by Perry G. Childs, Esq., at the sale of Colonel Benjamin 
Walker's effects in Utica soon after his death in 1818. It 
is said to have belonged to Baron Steuben, the Revolution- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ary hero, on whose staff Colonel Walker served, and one of 
whose executors he was. It is now owned by Mr. Child's 
grand-daughter, Mrs. John Stebbins, who owns and occu- 
pies his old home, Willowbank^ Cazenovia, N. Y. 




rUO CHAIRS AND A LETTER-CASE 
Owned bji Miu Anne Van Cortbndt, Croton^on-Hudton, N. Y. See page 4^4. 

His Confidante and Duchesse sofas, desks and book- 
cases, tables and beds, will be dealt with in the last chapter 
of this book. We must mention here, however, the side- 
board, which is no longer a table, but has developed into 
a piece of furniture with drawers and compartments. 
" The great utility of this piece of furniture," Heppel- 
white remarks, "has procured it a very general reception; 
and the conveniences it affords render a dining-room in- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

complete without a sideboard/' He gives several designs 
showing their internal construction, with compartments for 
wine bottles and drawers for cloth and napkins. In one 
he has a drawer " lined with green cloth to hold plate, etc., 
under a cover " ; and another, lined with lead for the con- 
venience of holding water to wash glasses, etc. "There 
must be a valve cock or plug at the bottom to let off the 
dirty water; and also in the other drawer, to change the 
water necessary to keep the wine, etc., cool; or they may 
be made to take out.^' The Heppelwhite sideboard stands 
on tapering legs and has a serpentine front. Its ornaments 
are carved, painted or inlaid in variously coloured woods, 
and the designs are rosettes, urns, wreaths, and the husk or 
bell-flower. "They are often made," he says, "to fit into 
a recess; but the general custom is to make them from 
55^ to 7 feet long, 3 feet high, and from 28 to 32 inches 
wide." 

A handsome sideboard of the Heppelwhite school faces 
page 470. This, as well as the khife-boxes upon it, be- 
longed to Gen. Samuel Ten Broeck (1745— 182 1), and was 
in the Calendar House at Clermont, N. Y. These pieces 
are now owned by his descendants. Dr. Herman V. Myn- 
derse, Mr. William Livingston Mynderse, and Miss Helen 
Livingston Mynderse,,, in Schenectady, N. Y. The side- 
board is mahogany inlaid with satin-wood ornaments, con- 
sisting of the husk, or bell-flower, on the legs, and the 
shell-fluting in the corners of the doors. The foot is the 
"term" or "spade"' of which Heppelwhite was so fond. 

He also gives sideboards without drawers, and when 
these are used in spacious dining-rooms they are accompa- 
nied by pedestals and vases, one being placed at each end 
of the sideboard. One pedestal, lined with tin, serves as a 

474 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

plate-warmer, being provided with racks and a stand for a 
heater. The other pedestal is a pot-cupboard. " The vases 
may be used to hold water for the use of the butler, or 
iced water for drinking, which is inclosed in an inner par- 




SHERATON CHAIR 
»l by the Colonial Dunoi, Billimare, Md. 



tition, the ice surrounding it; or may be used as knife- 
cases, in which case they are made of wood, carved, painted 
or inlaid ; if used for Water, may be made of wood or cop- 
per japanned. The height of the pedestal is the same as 
the sideboard, and 1 6 or 18 inches square ; the height of 
the vase about 2 feet 3 inches." 

Where sideboards are without drawers, the cellarets, or 
gardes de vin, appear. " These are made of mahogany, and 
hooped with brass lacquered; the inner part is divided 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

with partitions and lined with lead for bottles; may be 
made of any shape/' Upon Heppel white's sideboard, the 
knife-case was always present, " made of mahogany, satin 
or other wood at pleasure." "Vase knife cases" (of the 
shape that faces page 130) are "usually made of satin or 
other light-coloured wood, and may be placed at each end 
on the sideboard, or on a pedestal; the knives, etc., fall 
into the body of the vase, the top of which is kept up by 
a small spring which is fixed to the stem which supports 
the top ; may be made of copper painted and japanned." 

Tea-chests, tea-caddies, urn-stands, brackets, terms for 
busts, cornices, girandoles, reading-stands, shaving-stands, 
hanging-shelves, and bed pillars, all come in for their 
share of attention in Heppelwhite's book. 

Heppel white lasted but three years, for we have already 
seen on page 436 that Sheraton says in his preface that that 
cabinet-maker had "caught the decline" of popular taste. 
The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer' s 'Drawing-Book appeared 
in 1 79 1. Previous to this, he had published eighty-four 
Designs for Furniture which are undated, but they are thought 
to have been issued about 1790, when he settled in Soho, 
London. He also published The Cabinet Dictionary (1803) 
and I'he Cabinet-Maker ^ Upholsterer^ and General Artisfs 
Encyclopadia (1804—7). 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1806, we read: "In 
Broad Street, Soho, after a few days' illness of a phrenitis, 
aged 55, Mr. Thomas Sheraton, a native of Stockton-upon- 
Tees, and for many years a journeyman cabinet-maker, 
but who, since about the year 1793, has supported him- 
self, a wife, and children, by his exertions as an author. 
In 1793, he published a work in two volumes, 4to, in titled 
The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer s Drawing-Book^ to which 

476 



ir 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

is prefixed a numerous list of subscribers, including almost 
all the principal cabinet-makers in town and country. 
Since that time he has published 30 numbers in folio, of a 
work intended to be completed in 125 numbers, entitled 
I'he Cabinet-Maker and Artist's Encyclopadia^ of which he 
sold nearly a thousand copies. In order to increase the 
number of subscribers to this work, he had lately visited 
Ireland, where he obtained the sanction of the Lord Lieu- 
tenant, the Marchioness of Donegal, and other distinguished 
persons. He was a very honest, well-disposed man, of an 
acute and enterprising disposition ; but, like many other 
self-taught authors shewed the want of a regular education 
in his writings. He has left his family, it is feared, in 
distressed circumstances." 

It would seem from the above that Sheraton did not 
make furniture after 1793, and that before that date he had 
to fill orders like any other ordinary workman ; and that in 
all probability, Sheraton, like Chippendale, executed few of 
his own cherished designs. 

The above obituary neglects to mention that Sheraton 
was a zealous Baptist, preached in chapels of that sect, and 
issued various religious publications. 

In his preface, Sheraton complains that all books on 
cabinet-making known to him give no instructions in per- 
spective and geometrical drawing and also omit patterns for 
ornaments. The first and second parts deal with geomet- 
rical lines and perspective especially for the use of the 
workman. The third part is devoted to designs for furni- 
ture, which " are indeed liable to change," for it is not in 
" the power of any man to provide against it by making 
such drawings as will always be thought new." Mouldings 
and carvings form the subject of the fourth part. From 

477 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

his remark that the third part " is intended to exhibit the 
present taste of furniture, and at the same time to give the 
workman some assistance in the manufacture of it," we 
may infer that he is not as anxious to place his own designs 
upon the market as he is to exhibit the styles already in 
fashion. 

The Sheraton style is a reaction from the rococo ; in 
general form and treatment, it resembles the Louis XVI • furni- 
ture. It is tall and slender, with tapering " term " legs that 
are often fluted. His chairs have frequently a square back. 

The lyre is one of his favourite ornaments, and he is also 
fond of the urn or vase, swags of drapery, the vase filled 
with flowers, columns, the husk or bell-flower which he 
always calls the husk, flutings, columns and the patera. 

He likes to flute or loop green silk behind the glass 
doors of his bookcases and cabinets, uses a great deal 
of brass for trimming, and is famous for the ingenious 
mechanism which he introduces into his pieces. Although 
he uses mahogany very considerably, he is fonder of white 
and gold, gold, satin-wood and japanning. His furniture 
is covered with silk or satin, striped, figured or woven, or 
painted or printed with formal designs. An excellent idea 
of his style may be gained from the following description 
of a drawing-room taken from his book. 

The walls " are panelled in paper with ornamented bor- 
ders of various colours " ; above the windows are arches, 
" wooden frames put up and strained with canvas, after 
which the same kind of stuff which the curtains are made 
of is formed to appear like a fan, and drapery tacked on to 
it'*; above the pier-glasses, square paintings completely 
filled the spaces between the arched windows. The fire- 
place is furnished with a grate and square tiles. Above it 

478 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

is a mirror matching the pier-glasses, and above the mir- 
ror, a square picture like those over the pier-glasses. On 
either side of the fireplace stands a sofa, and opposite the 
fireplace is a commode table. Three chairs, matching the 
sofa, stand on either side of the commode-table, above 
which is a mirror and square picture like those over the 




Ounud bf Edwin Foimt ; . 



[ SOFA 
n the collection of the Wiyiiile Inn, Sudbuij. See pige 4%i. 



fireplace opposite. Panelled doors are on the other side 
of the chairs. Pier-tables with marble tops and gold, or 
white and gold, frames, stand between the windows, and 
the glasses above them appear to come down as far as the 
stretchers of the table, for " a piece of glass is fixed behind 
the pier-table, separate from the upper glass which appears 
to be a continuation of the same glass, and by reflection 
makes the table to appear double. This small piece of 
glass may be fixed either in the dado of the room or in 
the frame of the table." A single candelabrum stands upon 
each pier-table. "The sofas are bordered off in three 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

compartments and covered with figured silk or satin. The 
ovals may be printed separately and sewed on. These sofas 
may be cushioned to fill their backs together with bolsters 
at each end/' The chairs match the sofisis. The com- 
mode-table has four doors, and a marble top to match the 
pier-tables. " In the frieze part of the commode is a tablet 
in the centre, made of an exquisite composition in imita- 
tion of statuary marble. These are to be had of any figure, 
or of any subject, at Mr. Wedgewood's, near Soho Square. 
They are let into the wood, and project a little forward. 
The commode should be painted to suit the furniture, and 
the legs and other parts in gold, to harmonize with the 
sofa, tables, and chairs." 

A Dining-Parlour similar to one done for the Prince 
of Wales in Carlton House has five windows that come to 
the floor and pilasters between each. A large glass is over 
the chimney-piece with sconces for candles. At each end 
of the room is a " large sideboard nearly 1 2 feet in length, 
standing between a couple of Ionic columns, worked in 
composition to imitate fine variegated marble. In the mid- 
dle are placed a large range of dining-tables, standing on 
pillars with four claws each, which is now the fashionable 
way of making these tables. The claws are of mahogany, 
made in the style of the French with broad top rails hang- 
ing over each back foot ; the legs are turned, and the seats 
covered with red leather.'* The curtains "are of the French 
kind." 

"The general style of furnishing a dining-parlour should 
be in substantial and useful things, avoiding trifling orna- 
ments and unnecessary decorations. The pillars are em- 
blematic of the use we make of these rooms, in which we 
eat the principal meal for nature's support. The furniture 

480 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

without exception is mahogany, as being the next suitable 
for such appartments." Sheraton's symbolism is always 
amusing : he might be called the Maeterlinck of cabinet- 
makers. With regard to the dome, he writes : " I am of 
the opinion that the notion of employing domes for the 




roofe of grand buildings was first suggested by the appear- 
ance of the hemisphere surrounding our earth or horizon, 
forming a canopy or roof to the globe ; which, if it were 
so, domes had their origin from a truly sublime and mag- 
nificent idea. The use of domes for the tops of beds is of 
much later date than for buildings ; but it is certain, 
whoever he was who first employed domes for the tops of 
beds, must be considered as a person of enlarged ideas, as 
no other top or roof for a genteel bed can equal them ; 
4S1 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

therefore we see them generally used for state beds, where 
both grandeur and bold effect are essentially requisite/' 

Sheraton's beds, some of which will be described in the 
last chapter, are very curious and complicated arrange- 
ments of upholstery. They include alcove beds, French 
beds, state beds, beds with domes and canopies, and sofa 
beds. His sofas are very handsome, and among them we 
find the new "Turkey sofa" and the "Chaise Longue," 
the use of which, he tells us, is " to rest or loll upon after 
dinner." A good specimen appears on page 479. 

He is also fond of designing writing-desks, dressing- 
tables, and work-tables for ladies, and equips them with 
many ingenious mechanical contrivances. The work-table 
is invariably furnished with a bag suspended to a frame 
that can be drawn forward. This he calls the "Pouch 
Table." Sheraton's chairs are highly valued to-day. They 
usually have straight, tapering legs and square backs. The 
chair to the left on page 473 (the other is a " Fancy '* 
chair) and that on page 475 are good examples. Two 
work-tables appear on pages 481 and 483. Each has some 
of the Sheraton marks. The "kidney-shaped," which 
Sheraton adopted from the French, determines the period 
of the one owned by Mrs. Henry P. Archer. The other 
example belongs to Mr. John Pickering of Salem, Mass. 

" In the chair branch," Sheraton says, " it requires a 
particular turn in the handling of the slopes, to make them 
agreeable and easy. It is very remarkable, the difference 
of some chairs of precisely the same pattern, when executed 
by different chair-makers ; arising chiefly from the want of 
taste concerning the beauty of an outline, of which we 
judge by the eye, more than the rigid rules of geometry.** 

Some of Sheraton's late designs for chairs were those 

481 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

he named " Herculaneums," of course in the antique style ; 
hall chairs made of mahogany " with turned seats and the 
crest or arms of the family painted on the back "; and 
"conversation chairs," upon which the " Incroyable" of 
the period sat with the back of the chair between his legs, 




WORK-TABLE 
Kidncj'thipHi work-table owned by Mn. Henry P. Archer, Cbutevon, S. C. 



resting his arms upon the top rail, which was upholstered 
comfortably. "The manner of conversing amongst some 
of the highest circles of company," says Sheraton, " on 
some occasions, is copied from the French by lounging on 
a chair. It should be observed that they were made extra- 
ordinary long between back and front, for the purpose of 
space for the fashionable posture ; and also that they are 
4S3 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

narrow in the fi'ont and back, as an accommodation to 
this mode of conversing." 

"The conversation chairs are used in library or draw- 
ing-rooms. The parties who converse with each other sit 
with their legs across the seat, and rest their arms on the 
top rail, which for this purpose is made about three inches 
and a half wide, stuffed and covered." 

Two characteristic Sheraton chairs are reproduced on 
pages 473 and 475. The first chair, to the left of the 
screen letter-case, belongs to Miss Anne Van Cortlandt, 
Croton-on-the-Hudson. The second belongs to the Colon- 
ial Dames, Baltimore, Md. It is of mahogany inlaid with 
satin-wood with the bell-flower on the leg. 

The sideboard facing page 458 is of the Sheraton 
period. It is inlaid with cord and tassels, flowers and 
ribbon in green, red and yellow woods. The knife-boxes 
have silver ball-and-claw feet, locks and handles. 




THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR mmm 

FOR&FATHERS 






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Origttially 



CARVED OAK SIDEBOARD 

„W ., Mr. «/«. C.*.". ft" r.r>,«^ ^ Mi" J— «/. "-" '■•'»• "• '^^ 




THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR 

FOREFATHERS 



By ESTHER SINGLETON 

WITH CRITICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF PLATES 
By RUSSELL STURCIS 



ILLUSTRATED 



>I>3 C 



NEW YORK 

DOUBLEDAy, PAGE AND COMPANY 
I p 6 




COPYRIGHT, I90I, BY 

DOUBLEDAY. PAGE Sc CO. 

NOVEMBER, 1901 



CONTENTS 



Fashion at the Beginning of the Revolution 

487-492 

Contrast between the North and South, 488; Fashion in An- 
napolis, 488-9 i Maryland hospitality, 489-90; Wealth and 
luxury in Annapolis, 490 ; English Fashions and English Fur- 
niture, 492; Quick importations of Fashion, 492—3. 

Charleston in the Eighteenth Century . 493—496 

Josiah Quincy on Charleston, 493—4 ; Home of Miles Brew- 
ton, 494-5 ; General Washington in Charleston, 495—6. 



Virginia Homes in the Late Century 
Furniture of Mount Vernon 



496-500 

500-509 

General Washington in New York and Phila- 
delphia ...... 509-516 

Extracts from General Washington's Diary, 509-1O; General 
Washington's instructions for furnishing his Philadelphia house, 
512—14; Thomas Twining's description of the Presidential 
Home, 514; General Washington's gift to Read, 516. 

Thomas Jefferson's Home . . . 516-522 

Monticcllo and its Furniture, 516-18; Jefferson's reverence 
for relics associated with the United States, 518-21 ; Jeffer- 
son's interest in music, 521—2. 

Musical Instruments .... 522-528 

Musical Glasses, 422-23; improved pianos and their makers, 
524-8. 



CONTENTS 

Clocks, Secretaries and Work-Tables . 528-533 

Musical clocks and clocks with automata, 528-30; Joseph 
Bonaparte's gift to Stephen Girard, 530; Bonfanti's novel- 
tics, S31-2 ; Lady Blessington's Work-uble, 533. 

Sideboards and Desks .... 534-537 

Fashionable Furniture after the Revolution 

538-540 
General Washington in the North . 540-542 

Boston during the Revolution . . 543—545 

Stock of a New England Cabinet-Maker 546—548 
Salem after the Revolution . . . 548-555 

Home of Elias H. Derby, 548-53 ; Cleopatra's Barge, 554-5. 
Philadelphia During the Revolution . 556-564 
The Mischtanza, 556-g ; Homes of Robert Morris, 559-62; 
Home of William Bingham, 562—4. 

Home of Joseph Bonaparte . . . 564-568 

General Lafayette at Point Breeze, 564-6 ; examples of Em- 
pire Furniture, 566-8. 




piSQ^ 



List of Illustrations 

WITH CRITICAL NOTES ON MANY OF 
THE PLATES BV RUSSELL STURGIS 



Frontispiece; Carved Oak Sideboard facing 

Tbit hindionie tpecimcn n of rich, diik cuk elibontely carred, the centnl pineh of 
■be two ilooTj being ippropriite designs of liih and birds, Abovr [he doon ire two draw- 
en, decorated with gnnegque heads, which ire hollowed out to rorm handles. This lide- 
I (see pages 36 and 107) u»d for the display of plate 
sand some valuable eicimples of family silver brought 
) the end of the eighteenth century. E. S. 



boanl suggesD the old livery cupbi 
ftooi England by the Colgitei tov 



Carved Ebony Table 



facing 



The »et of furniture to which this nluible Oble belongs his already been de 

page 41G and in the tint note to the illuscnikins in Part VI. The table is of unusual 

dimenBons. The carving on the bise consists of gtacelul leaves and flowen in high relief 

Chinaduring Mr. Caleb T. Smith's residence there from ig;otoig7ci. Among them 



487 



IS made especially to eihibil thii ti 



le other. This hi 



n advantage. 



French Chair ....... 489 

Atmchair of the modem sort with cushioned back and seat, and separately cushioned 
arms, the whole belonging to that type which In France under the Regency and under Louis 
XV. were called ca^/ertaiU- with an attempted use of the English term. The piece in 
question is reiy delicately worked inth refined earring formlrig the mouldings at the edge, 
and the larger surfaces veneered vrith lichly tdned woods. R. Sturgis. 



Maryland China Cabinet 



facing 490 



Comet cupboard with glass toit, an unusual piece of the kind, as light and gracefiil as 
thoae in Part V. art massive and in a sense architectural. This IS a jnece of the delicate 
work of Heppelwhite's time, or copying his school very daeely. The inlays and the delK 
catc mouldings which loTm the edges of the door panels below and in the glased doMi 
above form similar edgra and alao the aiah baia — all these being fnade of the delicate^ 
Toned wood — an perfect of their kind. R. Sturgn. 



Mahogany Desk 



491 



CluK of drawers with wiidng-deak abore. This combination of hrge drawen raised well 
above the Aoor and of a desk above too high for the ordinary writer sitting on an ordinaty 
chair was, as we have found, very common at earlier epochs. The preicnt piece is of 
the be^ning of the nineteenth century and shows much of that indiffnoice to decora- 
~ ' action with surfaces of polished mahogany as the sole eye-pleMiii( 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGl 

element in the compotition — ^which was to characteristic of the years from 1815 to i860. 
It is only when the workman reaches the legs of the piece that he allows himself a little 
dirergence into ornamentation: and that ornamentation is of the most obvious and simple 
character. R. Sturgis. 

French Sofa and Chair ..... 493 

Two pieces belonging to a set that was brought firom France by Charles Cotesworth 
IHnckney. The woodwork u lacquered and decorated with Chinese figures. The feet 
of the sofa terminate in brass claws. £. S. 

Drawing Room .... facing 494 

This room contauns excellent examples of furniture that was fashionable about the time of 
the Revolution. The chairs and sofiu are of the Sheraton and Heppelwhite models, vnth 
the exception of two carved armchain that belonged to Louis Philippe. The house and 
this room are fully described on pages 494-5. £. S. 

Mahogany Sideboard ..... 498 

Siddxnrd of the clonng years of the dghteenth century. One of those efkc^ve pieces 
in which the severer taste of the dme embodied especially in the Louis Seize work of 
France went to give perfect udlity, great beauty of surface, sparing and well applied orna- 
ment and generally harmonious composition. This is one of the most effective sideboards 
of the time. The reeded surface in the middle below repretents a revolving or < 'disap- 
pearing** door which is slid sidewise, and packs itself away behind a lining of thin wood- 
work. R. Sturgis. 

Carved Chair, Carved Mirror and Table facing 498 

The chair, carved with a delicate openwork pattern of leaves and flowers, is said to have 
come firom India; the carved ebony mirror, originally in the £mperor*s Summer Palace 
at Pekin, may be compared with other examples of Chinese carving in Part VI. and in the 
frontispiece to this chapter; the cable is interesting on account of the great number of 
South American woods of which it is constructed and with which it b inlaid. Upon it 
stand some handsome examples of Chinese porcelain and carving, including a box of chess- 
men. £. S. 

Mirror, Chair, Spinning-Wheel and Candel- 
abra • . . . . FACING 500 

The mirror is described on page 499; the chair, which is of Gothic derign, belongs to 
the period of the Gothic revival under Pugin about 1820 to 1830. The seat is uphols- 
tered in bright wonted work, — somewhat reminiscent of the old Turkey-work. The 
bronze and gik candelabra are described on pages 499-500. The spinning-wheel is a 
simple one. £. S. 

Eleanor Custis's Harpsichord and Tambour 

Frame ....... 501 

Harpttchord which, like the spinets seen in earlier parts of this work, has in its case and the 
supporting members no architectural treatment, no carving, no inlay, no decoration of the 
wul sorts. Elsewhere there has been conrideration of this very peculiar phenomenon, 
namely, the complete abstinence of the designers of these important instruments from all 
sumptuousity of eflect. The appearance of the piano changed it all suddenly. 

The piano stool shown in the same plate belongs rather to the epoch of the elaborate 
piano facing 516 and the sofa facing 510. The tambour frame, an excellent example of 
that forgotten but certainly useful and agreeable piece of furniture, is of about the same 
date as the harpdchord and the difference in treatment is only another exemplification of 
what has been said and repeated in these notes, namely, that the clavichords of difllerent 
kinds were combined with frames so much more simple than other contemporary pieces. 
R. Stuigia. 

▼iii 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FAOX 



Chair from Mount Vernon and Painted Rose- 
wood Card Table ..... 505 

Card table in which painting of the representative sort, with flowers more or less realistic 
in character, has been used exactly as the piece on page 557. The Greek anthemions at 
the four comers of the table when opened are also, probably, painted and not inlaid as 
they would have been forty years earlier — for this table is probably of the early yean of the 
ninteenth century. 

A very beautiful drawing-room chair with the unusual feature of casters for all four legs, 
and which has been finished in what is now called *< enamel** paint, white or cream- 
coloured, is earlier than the table. The use of the simple fluting and the spiral bead at the 
edges is very judicious and effective. R. Sturgis. 

Washington's Bedroom, Mount Vernon . facing 508 

Room at Mount Vernon in which the entire simplicity of the eighteenth-century pro- 
gnunme of house furnishing is presented to us in an interesting way. Washington passed 
for a wealthy land-holder and his position as President and as past president would neces- 
sarily have caused him to live as sumptuously as any of his neighbors or contemporaries in 
more distant States. Here, however, in a good bedroom, there is no pretence made of any 
elaborateness of decoradon or furniture as having ever existed. The carpet of course is 
modem, and although the pieces of furniture be of Washington's dme they do not neces- 
sarily belong to the room in which they are now placed ; but the room is shown as the 
plain thing that it must have been even when Washington was spending his few yean of 
retirement at his ancestral home. 

The mantelpiece is one of the most interesting things in the room; the stone or slate 
fiicing below and the wooden frame shelf and frieze between are all characterisdc and ex- 
tremely appropriate. The great chest of drawers with bookcase is of the type which has 
been shown in richer examples. The trunk mail or leather travelling trunks, the chair, 
and the round stand are of Washington*s earlier days when he was still in command of the 
army or even before that, but iht/auteuii is of his poet-presidential dme, a piece of the 
closing years of the century. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Sofa .... facing 510 

Sofii in which the elaborate style of carving well shown in the piano fiicing 516 exists in 
even greater richness, but without quite the same intelligent disposidon of the parts. It is, 
however, a matter of extreme difficulty to design aright the wooden outline to which such 
a frame as th'is is limited. It covers and conceals the solid structure of the sofii and some 
part of it may even belong to that structure, but the important part played by the texdle 
material which covers seat, arms and back leaves to the designer of the woodwork so very 
litde opportunity that it must be an able man who reaches great succen in the treatment 
of his design. R. Sturgis. 

George Washington's Desk . . . -511 

This is an example of the heavy and clumsy fumiture that supplanted the Sheraton styles, 
and the tumed balusters at the top and the cAuUs of the bell-flower, large and coarse in de- 
sign, inlaid in sadn-wood contribute the only decoradon. The roll top is composed of 
narrow strips of wood glued on canvas. This work Sheraton calls '' tambour.** The 
sideboard on page 498 has a tambour shutter to close the arched opening. £. S. 

Chair from Washington's Presidential Man- 
sion . . . . . . -513 

Armchair of Louis Sdsu design and covered with a piece of oik brocade of the period. 
This is a characterisdc and well preserved specimen ; not otherwise were nude the chairs 
which furnished the smaller Trianon or the mansions of the nobility at VenaiUes. R. 
Sturgis. 

Musical Glasses .... facing 514 

Harmonica in which the necessarily plain box, the lower part of which is, in the best ex- 
amples, hollow and resonant, is made as effecdve as posuble to the worknoan as a piece of 
fumiture by the mounting upon two columns and a hont piece suggestive of a lyre. Such 
pieces were somewhat in vogue in France from 1770 to the dose of the centiuy, and the 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

popnhr word was that they were the bvention of Benjamin Franklin. It teemt, how- 
erefy that the muaical gla«et originated by Franklin were played with the finger only, and 
by meant of a delicate rubbing which canted the saucen with water in them to Tibrate with 
a more or lets thrill aound at the amount of water wat increated. A later devekipment 
hiTohred the ute of larger and deeper glattet which were played upon by little hammen of 
cork. R. Sturgit. 

Chair Given by Washington to Read . • 5^5 

Armchair of the clote of the eighteenth century, the back formed of that cufioui combina- 
tion of linet and cunret which ttood for a Greek lyre. It it finithed in white or iyocy 
white. R. Sturgit. 

Pianoforte ..... facing 516 

Piano of an early form and exemplifying perfectly the florid ttyle of i8xo and following 
yean. Thit ttyle we have occation to touch upon in connection with high-pott bedtteadt 
m Part! V. and VI. and in the aofii fiidng page 510 and other piecet in the pretent Part 
VII. Nowhere, however, doet the iculpture teem at perfect at here. The gilded metal 
capt at the junction of thete legt with the piano ittelf and the metal rotettet of two pat- 
terns in the fneze above are tuggettiont taken from the French Empire ttyle ; to much re- 
maint, but it doet teem at if the tich tculpture in hard, dark coloured, highly poliahed 
wood had come from a ttyle earlier than that of the Empire. It it at if tradidont had been 
preterved in England and perhapt even more carefully preierved in the Atlantic Statet of 
America, leaning upon which the workmen of the early nineteenth century were able to 
ttrike out thit rather daring line for themtehrei. R. Sturgit. 

Thomas Jefferson's Desk . . . -519 

Writing-detk with the hinged and revolving front piece forming a continuation of the 
iteep tlope above ; the inkttandt finding tafety in one of the upper drawen, which, when 
opened, it teen to contain rackt for pent and the like, at well at aquare compartments for 
the ink-bottlet. This arrangement of providing the detired tlope is common in the porta- 
ble writing-detkt of the period — that is to say, in the square-cornered brass-bound mahc^ 
any or mahogany veneered boxes which gentlemen used habitually from 1800 to 185O9 
and in which thdr important papen were ofben kept. Such a portable desk wat always 
furnished with firm handlet diropping into tockett, to at to be well out of the way, and 
the owner might take it on a tea voyage with him or into the coimtry, feeling that he had 
all hit preciout belongings under his hand. Here die same form is applied to a more sta- 
tkmary piece of furniture which in ittelf contains no ornamental feature except the mould- 
ed and reeded legs. R. Sturgis. 

West Parlour, Mount Vernon . facing 520 

Room at Mount Vernon furnished ¥ntb a carpet woven for the room ittelf with the arms 
of the United States. This is a medallion carpet rather good in general design, the pro- 
portion of the parts being well kept, but the barbarous heraldry of the early nineteenth 
century was opposed to anything like great success in colour combination. One thing is 
Dodceable— the escutcheon borne on the breast of the eagle has simply the chief azure and 
the field party per pale argent and gules, there being then two unumud features, one alto- 
gether welcome and the other of doubtful propriety. In the fint place the chief should 
not have the stan ; they belong in the flag, but not in the escutcheon of the United 
States, as that was adopted by Act cf Congress, and in this the present example is correct. 
On the other hand, the field below, the chief instead of thirteen pieces (or vertical stripes) 
hu here seventeen, and the silver or white stripes are in the greater nunober ; in this the 
heraldic marshalling before us is incorrect. 

The ivory finished ftuteui/ of very beautiful Louis Sehu design is of the second half of 
the eighteenth century, and of coune not of the sixteenth, as its printed inscription sets 
iqrth. R. Sturps. 

Lady's Writing-Desk . . . facing 524 

This desk it tomewhat timilar in form to the Ic t t er - csse (see pages 719 and 473). This 
is constructed of rosewood, and is beautifully inlaid with ivory. It it fumkhed with a 
dock and a musical box. This was imported fimn Brlgmm earfy in the nineteenth 
tury. £. S. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGI 



Pianoforte ....... 525 

I^ano of the earliest t3rpe, the frame having the same screre nmplidtjr which has been 
noted in connection with harpsichords and spinets — the instruments which were the 
fbrerunnen of the piano. It remains a puzzle — this severe simplicity, this abstinence from 
all attempt at elaborateness of design— characteristic of the earlier clavichords. As soon, 
however, as the piano was introduced, the very great weight of the necessary mechanism 
pointed the way to a different treatment of the firame, and the result appears in the six- 
legged design with legs, moreover, much heavier and stronger shown in the hardly later 
piano hcrng page 516. R. Sturgis. 

Secretary ........ 529 

Escritoire of the upright pattern which, as a recent French novelist has said, is found now- 
adays only in country hotels ; having, however, the somewhat unusual feature of a large 
music-box for its crowning member. It is undoubtedly with some reference to the artistic 
character of this last-named refinement that the uppermost member of the composition is 
so elaborate with its late Ionic columns and gilded metal appliques. R. Stur^. 

Mahogany Sideboard . . . facing 532 

Sideboard of about 1820 with the simple Georgian style in its full force. The pieces of 
this epoch cannot compare for grace vrith those of thirty years earlier, but they are ra- 
tional and comely and enable the owner to furnish and decorate a room in entire accord- 
ance with the life of a family of cultivated and intelligent persons. The mirror frame, 
which is of about the same date of the sideboard, shows the richer work of the time. For 
some reason not explained these frames intended to be gilt fas they most commonly were) 
have always been allowed to retain a richness of form whicli we can almost say was de- 
nied to every other utensil or piece of fomiture from 1790 to 1850. R. Sturg^. 

Lady Blessington's Work-Table . . -533 

Attention has been called in the text to the popxilarity of the lady*s work-table. This 
example was specially designed for Lady Blessington. When the top, which is eigh- 
teen inches in diameter, is opened, it shows a well surrounded by small compartments. 
No work-table was considered complete without the bag, or pouch, or well, which was 
intended for both use and ornament. This piece of furniture u richly inlaid. £. S. 

Mahogany Sideboard, Knife-Boxes and Cel- 
laret ...... 535 

Sideboard of the later years of the eighteenth century ; an elaborate piece widi three cup- 
boards, two deep drawers for holding botties erect, and seven other drawers of different 
sizes. The effort to combine so many parts in one piece of fomiture has resulted in a 
form less entirely satisfying to the artistic sense than the simpler ones shown in Parts III. 
and IV. The obvious utility of the whole and the severe nmplicity of its design saves it, 
of course, from anything approaching ugliness. Such a piece is handsomer when put to 
full use with all the three members of its top filled with their appropriate pieces, as in- 
deed they are shown in the present picture. The knife-boxes are very good in design and 
it is a pity that one of them was not shown closed that they might be judged of com- 
pletely. Snull chest, probably a wdne-cooler, set beneath the sideboard, but altogether 
apart from it R. Sturgis. 

Desk and Chair .... . . 537 

Chair and writing-table of the early nineteenth century. The writing-table is of that 
delicate and simple form which is most fitting to a drawing-room or the comer of a dining- 
room which is used for other purposes than the fiunily meals. The top is hinged at one 
edge and llfb up with a filing brace and a ratchet so as to be adjustable at different angles; 
and little sliding shelves at two ends serve for the safe placing of ink-stands, and, it iqipears, 
for cups of tea or mugs of liquid refireshment. This piece of fomiture is of the most 
graceful and attractive character. The brass knobs are probably of the epoch. R« 
Sturgis. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGB 

"Banjo Clock" and Clock with Cherry Case 

FACING 540 

Two clocks, the one a wall clock intended to be secured high up in a stair hall or nxnilar 
exposed situation, the other a call clock like several others which we have seen in other 
parts of the present work. 

The wall clock is of the best form, an extremely intelligent design, allowing for the 
swing of the pendulum, and iti whole shape expressing not only the essence of the thing 
in that it must be suspended by hooks in the back and supported on nothing beneath it, 
but also assuming a sufficiently graceful outline and showing a general composition hr 
above the average of merit. The standing clock abo is one of the best examples, the 
use of the classical columns u really exemplary; it is seldom that these architectural 
members are introduced into furniture with so much good tsste and so good a result. 
R. Sturgit. 

Curled Maple Desk . . . • -541 

Chest of drawers with wridng-desk and bookcase, a piece nude sumptuous by beautiful 
veneer, probably of curl maple. The judicious use of this rippled golden surface vtith its 
semi-translucent lustre — its restriction to the sunken parts, drawer fronts and panels, is as 
noticeable as its inherent beauty. It was a good feeling, too, which nude the piece so severe, 
so free from moulded and carved ornamentation, depending altogether upon the contrast of 
the darker and lighter wood and the beauty of the grain. R. Sturgis. 

Chairs of French Make ..... 545 

Chair and armchair in which a rude carving fills the principal slat of the back. The 
range of subject is shown by comparison of the two; that on the right being a Bacchus and 
that on the left, a very simple and humble nuiden watering her Bowers. Another chair 
of the same set has a Pan — an JEgt-Pzn — playing on what seems to be meant for a 
modem flute. It would be hard to date these pieces ¥rith accuracy or to establish their 
provenience. They seem to be the work of a man of independence who was trying to de- 
sign something which was not made by his competitors. R. Sturg^. 

Console Table ..... facing 548 

Side table in Empire Style with an unusual display of metal appliques, which are gener- 
ally efiiective and well placed. The candelabra and centrepiece, with dancing Cupids car- 
rying a corbdUe, are of good French work, the candelabra older than the centrepiece, 
which is probably contemporary with the table upon which it stands. The upright in the 
derign of the candelabra u composed of three terminal figures, or, more properly, of 
satyrs or heads resting upon gaitus adorned with festoons. Thu, in ^t bronze, u an ex- 
tremely effective ornamentation, and nukes the chief part of the design, artistically speak- 
ing, an especially fine and unusual piece of metal work. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Sofa ...... 549 

Sofii covered with hair cloth, the carved wooden flanking-piece made up of arm and leg 
conjoined at either end having that same unmeaning character very common in the Eng- 
lish and Anglo-American work of the reign of George III. The world of decoration of 
art, applied to purpose of daily life as well as the other neighbouring world of fine art pure 
and simple, was in its decline at this time— on the slope of the decline which did not reach 
its lowest depth until the middle of the nineteenth century. R. Sturgis. 

Daniel Webster's Desk . . . facing 550 

Chest of drawers with writbg-desk ; a piece of the well-known t3rpe so often represented 
in this work, but one of a singular severity and rimple grace. The effect is obtained al- 
most wholly by beauty of the wood, the front of the drawers being delicately veneered, and 
by the brass handles and scutcheons which fortunately have been preserved. The propor- 
tioiiSy however, are onusually good and give the piece special charm. R. Stuigit. 

zn 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGI 



Console Table ...... 553 

A table, such as in the early yean of the nineteenth century was made to stand between the 
windows of a drawing room and usually beneath a **pier glass/* the mirror between the 
uprights of the table continuing the reflected surface nearly to the floor. Such pieces, 
often called pier tables, allow of a certain dignity, and that fact is sought in the present 
case by the very massive-seeming round columns, probably veneered and fitted with gilt 
metal bases and capitals. A gilt metal applique fills the centre of the front rail. This u 
a good specimen of the simpler furniture of the Style Empire. R. Sturgis. 

Cabinet ...... facing 554 

This is an example of native carving, the work of an amateur who amused himself in 
his leisure with carving chairs, tables, mantelpieces, etc., etc. This piece is further en- 
riched with porcelain panels and brass hinges. £. S. 

Chair and Table .... facing 556 

Table with painted top, an excellent specimen of the painted work of the earlier yean 
of the nineteenth century. The pseudo-Greek border is pretty in design, though it does 
not well frame the painting which fills the medallion. 

The chair is an unusually well designed instance of the four-backed type. R. Sturgis. 

Fancy Chair ....... 557 

Chair of the later Georgian period, with fine and solid rush seat, the frame highly dec- 
orated with paindng. A chair offen no lar^e surface upon which a picture nuy be painted 
except at the inner or principal side of the back ; and this is hidden by the person of the 
occupant and is in danger of injury. And yet at the time (1815 to 1830) when the 
painting of little landscape pictures was thought good for door-panels and table-tops, and 
for the edges of carefully bound books beneath the gilding of the leaves, a slight tendency 
in the same direction naturally took shape in the decoration of drawing-room chairs. This 
vestige of the admirable art of the eighteenth century, centred in France and extending 
thence over Europe, brought with it some really admirable compositions in the spirit of 
the English landscape painten of the time. The slight leaf painting upon the legs of the 
chair is a natural and proper <* echo *' of the color decoration above. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany and Gilt Mirror . . . 559 

Mirror frame of the earlier yean of the nineteenth century. The student will note the 
intelligence of the design — the systematic way in which the breaks of the outer border of 
the frame — breaks which in architecture are called ancons and lugs, suffice in the present 
instance to cover and excuse the spirited bits of free pierced carving, which forms a branch 
vtith oak leaves and acorns, seeming to hang down on each side. The design is spoiled 
by the elaborate lettering which has been added in later times. R. Sturgis. 

Marble Table and Chairs of the Early Nine- 
teenth Century . . . facing 560 

Small centre table of marble beautifully veined. The set of tea-pot, cream-pot, sugar-pot , 
and two cups and saucen are probably of the royal ^ctory of Sevres and of about l8io. 
The buildings represented in the medallions painted upon these pieces might all be identi- 
fied with a little trouble, for the custom of the dmes was to represent actual scenes and 
objects as the motive for these adornments — a style of decoration certainly not character- 
istic of ceramic ware but identified with the work of this great establishment. R. 
Sturgis. 

Secretary . . . . * . . . 561 

This piece nuy be compared with Governor Wentworth*s desk on page 369. This is of 
rich mahogany. The legs are very simple as also are the brass handles, but the arrange- 
ment of the interior u quite elaborate. Here we find a number of pigeon-holes, diawen 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

> •omevliit □nrer (he floor than unul 
nclaol widi dooii, contiiru raanj coo- 
TOuefiC dnwcn and pgnm-hola ud portitiont evidently for the ute of lirgc Icdgcn. The 
cotnicc ii otaameatcd with i gilded eajle ind burning laicha al«o plded. £. S. 

Mahogany Chair . . . . , . 563 

Dnvring-room chair of the eeren peendo-duncil Kyle which wia developed train the 
French cliwcil rem*] under Loun XIV. , but carried fiuthci and to iB decadence ondei 
the tint Nipoleon. The En^iahmen wmlcing for the unple Englith diaing-iDom or draw- 
ing-room rejected wrouihl onumeatatioa, tolour and pliUng, and thought that they were 
doing vomething noble and altogether worthy in leeking alone the poliihed taifice of ma- 
hogany combined with what [hey thought were damical form). The RSulC tl not ugly 
merely beciuM the piece ihowi well enough the purpose lor which it b intended, and pro- 
Tidea a comfbttahle acat without the diafigurement of ill-applied ornamentation. R. 

Empire Chair ...... 565 

Armchair in the " Em[dK Style " and probaUy of French tnaiu. Thii it a chancteriitic 
ipcciaten j leldom in America ii to be found to unmiMalceably Imperial a desgn. The 
attempted clamcal chancier of the hollowed tack ii m imfaitacit ai the puR^ decsnuiTe 




THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

Part VII 




a^vntJ !,y A/' 



CAR\'KI) EBONY TABLE 

■,, CM, T. Smif. SmU„„„, I. I .V.v/aj, jj? 




THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

PART VII 

Domestic and Imported Furniture 

FROM 1776 TO 1830 



=^ ^^^nQ "^ *^^ outbreak of the Revolution, the home 
lr^*S2?^ S of a wealthy American lost nothing in com- 

Aparison with that of an Englishman in sim- 
I ilar circumstances. Imported and home- 
^^-- = made furniture of the Chippendale school 
*^^^^ was all the rage, and the extent to which 
the latest foreign fashions were welcomed may be gathered 
from the protests of the day. Serious attempts were made 
to curtail importations which were said to be ruining na- 
tive industry. In the North, simplicity was more marked 
than in the South ; but, even in New England, fashion and 
elegance were found in many households, as we have al- 
ready seen. There, however, magnificence sometimes 
aroused unfavourable comment. In 1774, John Adams 
notes : " John Lowell, at Newburyport, has built himself a 
house like the palace of a nobleman, and lives in great 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

splendour/' Mr. Adams was one of those who were hostile 
to anything of that kind. In 1778, commenting upon the 
splendour of French life, he says : 

" I cannot help suspecting that the more elegance, the 
less virtue, in all times and countries. Yet I fear that even 
my own dear country wants the power and opportunity 
more than the inclination to be elegant, soft and luxuri- 
ous. . . . Luxury has as many and as bewitching charms on 
your side of the ocean as on this ; and luxury wherever she 
goes, effaces from human nature the image of the Divinity. 
If I had power, I would forever banish and exclude from 
America all gold, silver, precious stones, alabaster, marble, 
silk, velvet and lace." 

The difference between the North and South impressed 
every traveller. It was striking. The life of the South- 
ern planter was one of ease and elegance; and conditions 
differed slightly in Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina. 
The centres of fashion were Annapolis, Williamsburg and 
Charleston, — gay and pleasure-loving towns. The capital 
of Maryland reached its height of splendour a few years 
before the Revolution, and this did not diminish until sev- 
eral years after the war had ceased. The presence of many 
Englishmen on official missions, with their retinues and 
families, brought fashion, affluence and gaiety to the colo- 
nial capital. The houses were renowned for their costly 
and beautiful furniture, their well-arranged and cultivated 
grounds, and their lavish hospitality. Eddis, an English 
traveller, who wrote his experiences in 1769— 1777, re- 
marks : " Whatever you have heard relative to the rigid 
Puritanical principles and economical habits of our Ameri- 
can brethren, is by no means true when applied to the in- 
habitants of the Southern provinces. Liberality of senti- 

488 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ment, and genuine hospitality are everywhere prevalent ; 
and I am persuaded they too frequently mistake profuseness 
for generosity, and impair their health and their fortunes 
by splendour of appearance and magnificence of entertain- 




FRENCH CHAIR 
Owned by Mr. Robert Colby, New York, N. Y. 



ment." He mentions, particularly, among the beautiful 
villas in the vicinity of Annapolis, Rousby Hall in Calvert 
County, about seventy miles from the town, as being " as 
well-known to the weary, indigent traveller as to the afflu- 
ent guest," and adds : " In a country where hospitality is 
the distinguishing feature, the benevolent owner has estab- 
4S9 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

lished a preeminence, which places his character in an ex- 
alted point of view/' 

The Abb6 Robin, who accompanied Count Rocham- 
beau as chaplain to America, is another witness of the con- 
trast between North and South. In 1781, he writes in his 
Nouveau Voyage dans r Amerique Septentrionale : 

"As we advance towards the South, we find a very 
sensible difference in the manners and customs of the peo- 
ple. In Connecticut the houses are placed on the public 
roads at small intervals, and barely large enough to accom- 
modate a single family, and are furnished in the most plain 
and simple manner ; but here are spacious, isolated habita- 
tions, consisting of several edifices, built in the centre of a 
plantation, and so remote from the public road as to be 
lost to the view of travellers. These plantations are culti- 
vated by negroes. . . . The furniture of the houses here 
is of the most costly wood and the rarest marble, enriched 
and decorated by artists ; they have light and elegant car- 
riages, which are drawn by fine horses ; the coachmen are 
slaves and are richly dressed. There appears to be more 
wealth and luxury in Annapolis than in any other city 
which I have visited in this country. The extravagance of 
the women here surpasses that of our own provinces; a 
French hairdresser is a man of great importance ; one lady 
here pays to her coiffeur a salary of a thousand crowns. 
This little city, which is at the mouth of the Severn river, 
contains several handsome edifices. The state-house is the 
finest in the country ; its front is ornamented with columns, 
and the building surmounted by a dome. There is also a 
theatre here. Annapolis is a place of considerable shipping. 
The climate is the most delightful in the world.'* 

A corner cupboard from Maryland, probably the work 

490 




MARYLAND CHINA CABINET 
O'wntJ hy Mri. Geergt Btit Jobniteii, RithmonJ, fa. See pogi 4gi' 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of a native cabinet-maker, faces page 490. It is of ma- 
hogany inlaid with satin-wood, a species of the bell-flower 
appearing on the legs. The panels of the doors are formed 
of some light mottled wood, which also frames the glass 




Owned by Pre«dcnt Midito 



MAHOGANY DESK 
w bj- Mrs. George Ben Johniton, Richmond, Virglnu. See p 



panes. The urns ornamenting the top are bronze and gilt. 
This curious three-cornered china cabinet, or cupboard, is 
owned by Mrs. George Ben Johnston, Richmond, Va., and 
is filled with handsome china and glass of the period. 

When we find a writer impressed with conditions of 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

elegance, we naturally hesitate to accept his estimate until 
we know whether his experience has qualified him to 
judge. When, therefore, we find the Duke de la Roche- 
foucauld- Liancourt speaking with approval of a typical 
Southern home, we are satisfied that the travellers already 
quoted did not greatly exaggerate. Of Whitehall^ the home 
of Governor Sharp, the Duke says in his Voyage dans les 
^tatS'Unis (1795-97), that this was "a most delightful 
retreat about seven miles distant (from Annapolis) ; his 
house is on a large scale, the design is excellent, and the 
apartments well fitted up and perfectly convenient.*' Else- 
where he says : 

" In a country which has belonged to England for a 
long time, of which the most numerous and nearest con- 
nections are yet with England, and which carries on with 
England almost all of its commerce, the manners of the 
people must necessarily resemble, in a great degree, those 
of England. As for American manners particularly, those 
relative to living are the same as in the provinces of Eng- 
land. As to the dress, the English fashions are as faith- 
fully copied as the sending of merchandise from England 
and the tradition of tailors and mantua-makers will admit 
of. The distribution of the apartments in their houses is 
like that of England, the furniture is English, the town 
carriages are either English or in the English taste ; and it 
is no small merit among the fashionable world to have a 
coach newly arrived from London and of the newest 
fashion/* 

Eddis also writes : 

" The quick importation of fashions from the mother 
country is really astonishing. I am almost inclined to be- 
lieve that a new fashion is adopted earlier by the polished 

492 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

and affluent American, than by many opulent persons in 
the great metropolis ; nor are opportunities wanting to dis- 
play superior elegance. We have varied amusements and 
numerous parties, which afford to the young, the gay, and 
the ambitious, an extensive field to contend in the race of 
vain and idle competition. In short, very little difference 




FRENCH SOFA AND CHAIR 
Owned by Mn. Chirla Cotaworth Pinckney, Chirleiton, S. C. See page 53S. 

is, in reality, observable in the manners of the wealthy 
colonist and the wealthy Briton. Good and bad habits 
prevail on both sides the Atlantic." 

We not only find unprejudiced foreign travellers extol- 
ing the wealth, hospitality and elegances of living, but 
visitors from the Northern States never failed to be im- 
pressed with what they saw and the treatment they re- 
ceived. Occasionally they record their experiences. For 
example, Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts, who visited 
Charleston in 1773, writes: "This town makes a most 
beautiful appearance as you come up to it, and in many 
aspects a magnificent one. Although I have not been 
here twenty hours, I have traversed the most populous parts 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of it. I can only say in general, that in grandeur, splen- 
dour of building, decorations, equipages, numbers, com- 
merce, shipping, and indeed in almost everything it far sur- 
passes all I ever saw or ever expected to see in America." 

On March 8th he was entertained at a house that is 
still standing, the drawing-room of which appears facing 
this page. He writes : 

"March 8 (1773). Dined with a large company at 
Miles Brewton*s, Esq., a gentleman of very large fortune ; 
a superb house said to have cost him ^8,000 sterling. A 
most elegant table, three courses, etc, etc. At Mr. Brew- 
ton's sideboard was very magnificent plate. A very fine 
bird kept familiarly playing about the room under our 
chairs and the table, picking up the crumbs and perching 
on the window and sideboard.'* 

This fine brick house on King Street, ivith its generous 
doorway and double flight of marble steps, was built by the 
above mentioned Miles Brewton, an Englishman who came 
to Charleston early in the eighteenth century. In 1775, 
he left Charleston for England intending to leave his fam- 
ily there and return^ to America, as he was an ardent Revo- 
lutionist. The vessel was wrecked and not a passenger 
saved. The house became the property of his married 
daughter, Rebecca (Mrs. Jacob Motte), who dwelt here 
with her daughters until the British entered the city. Sir 
Henry Clinton and his officers occupied it in 1781—82, and 
Mrs. Motte retired to her plantation on the Congaree, near 
Columbia. 

The home of Miles Brewton, now known as the Prin- 
gle House, is owned by his descendant. Miss Susan Pringle. 
It is an excellent example of a typical Charleston home of 
the eighteenth century. Upon the walls of the drawing- 

494 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

room, facing page 494, is a portrait of Miles Brewton by 
Sir Joshua Reynolds. The large mirror between the win- 
dows dates from an early period, and has never been in- 
flicted with a new glass. The frame is richly carved and 
gilt. The windows are draped in the old-fashioned style 
with curtains of daffodil-coloured damask that have hung 
in the same spot since the time of the Revolution. Much 
of the furniture in this enormous room is of the Heppel- 
white and Sheraton period. A stufl^ed Heppelwhite arm- 
chair stands directly in front of the mirror. It, like the 
others of its type in the same room, is covered with crim- 
son damask, which was so fashionable in its day. One of 
this set decorated with fringe has already appeared on page 
451. The armchair on its left, which is one of another 
set, is covered with yellow damask; while others are up- 
holstered with flowered material like the sofa that is cosily 
placed near the open fire. Other sofas in the room are 
covered with yellow damask. The two carved chairs stand- 
ing on either side of the table, which, like all the rest of 
the furniture, is of mahogany, belonged to Louis Philippe. 
The room is of beautiful proportions, and the woodwork 
is particularly fine. The marble mantelpiece is very ornate 
and handsome ; but, perhaps the most noticeable feature of 
the room is the superb crystal chandelier, consisting of 
twenty-four sconces, each furnished with a glass shade more 
than a foot in height. Fortunately, it has never been al- 
tered for gas or electricity, and the candles still shed their 
soft glow upon the room, and cause the enormous giron- 
delles in chains and pendants to sparkle with prismatic 
hues. Only a portion of this candelabrum appears, as it is 
built somewhat in the form of a pyramid. 

A much more notable visitor to Charleston was Gen- 

495 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

eral Washington, who was entertained in a house on 
Church Street, near Tradd, owned by Judge Heyward, and 
which was "superbly furnished for the occasion/* Two 
extracts from General Washington's Diary will be sufficient 
to show what his impressions were: 

May 5, 1790. " Dined with a very large company at 
the Governor's and in the evening went to a Concert at 
the Exchange at which there were at least four hundred 
ladies, the number and appearance of which exceeded any- 
thing of the kind I had ever seen/' 

May 7, 1790. "Charleston contains about 1,600 
dwelling-houses. ... It lies low with unpaved streets (ex- 
cept the footways) of sand. There are a number of very 
good houses of Brick and wood, but most of the latter. — 
The Inhabitants are wealthy — gay — and hospitable; appear 
happy and satisfied with the General Government." 

Washington also speaks of Captain Alston as a gentle- 
man of large fortune whose "house which is large, new, 
and elegantly furnished, stands on a sand-hill high for the 
Country, and his Rice fields below." 

It would seem that some of the Virginian houses were 
splendid while others were neglected and falling into de- 
cay. The Duke de la Rochefoucauld- Liancourt says that 
the Virginians spend more than their income. "You 
find, therefore, very frequently a table well, served and 
covered with plate in a room where half the windows 
have been broken for years past, and will probably be so 
ten years longer. Biit few houses are in tolerable state of 
repair.'* 

The Marquis de Chastellux also testifies : " The Vir- 
ginians have the reputation, and with reason, of living 
nobly in their homes and of being hospitable; they give 

496 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

strangers not only a willing, but a liberal reception. This 
arises, on one hand, from their having no large towns 
where they may assemble, by which means they are little 
acquainted with society except from the visits they make ; 
and, on the other, their lands and their negroes furnishing 
them with every article of consumption and the necessary 
service, the renowned hospitality costs them very little. 
Their houses are spacious and ornamented, but their apart- 
ments are not commodious ; they make no ceremony of 
putting three or four persons into the same room; nor do 
these make any objection to their being thus heaped to- 
gether ; for being in general ignorant of the comfort of 
reading and writing, they want nothing in their whole 
house but a bed, a dining-room, and a drawing-room for 
company. The chief magnificence of the Virginians con- 
sists in furniture, linen and plate ; in which they resemble 
our ancestors, who had neither cabinets nor wardrobes in 
their castles, but contented themselves with a well-stored 
cellar and a handsome buffet." 

The Marquis visited Westover and highly praised it. 

" We travelled six and twenty miles without halting, in 
very hot weather, but by a very agreeable road, with mag- 
nificent houses in view at every. instant ; for the banks of 
the James River form the garden of Virginia. That of 
Mrs. Byrd, to which I was going, surpasses them all in the 
magnificence of the buildings, the beauty of its situation, 
and the pleasures of society.'' 

"... Mr. Mead's house is by no means so handsome as 
Westover^ but it is extremely well fitted up within, and 
stands on a charming situation ; for it is directly opposite 
to Mrs. Byrd's, which with its surrounding appendages, has 
the appearance of a small town and forms a most delight- 

497 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ful prospect. Mr. Mead's garden, like that of Westover, is 
in the nature of a terrace on the bank of the river." 

In 1.779, another traveller, Anburey, spent a few days 
with Colonel Randolph at Tuckaboe, and says that the 
house seems to have been built for the sole purpose of hos- 
pitality, and it is therefore worth describing. 




MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD 
Owned by the Americin Antii|u«un Socictj, WDrGeMer, Man. Sec page 5}$. 

** It is in the form of an H; and has the appearance of 
two houses joined by a large saloon ; each wing has two 
stories, and four large rooms on a floor ; in one the iamily 
reside, and the other is reserved solely for visitors ; the saloon 
that unites them is of considerable magnitude, and on each 
side are doors ; the ceiling is lofty, and to these they prin- 
cipally retire in the summer, being but little incommoded 
by the sun, and by the doors of each of the houses and 
those of the saloon being open, there is a constant circula- 
tion of air; they are furnished with four sophas, two on 



V K 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

each side, besides chairs, and in the centre there is gener- 
ally a chandelier ; these saloons answer the two purposes of 
a cool retreat from the scorching and sultry heat of the 
climate, and of an occasional ball-room. The outhouses 
are attached at some distance, that the house may be open 
to the air on all sides." 

Behoir is of special interest, on account of the ties be- 
tween its owner and the master of Mount Vernon. The 
former was William Fairfax, whose daughter became the 
wife of Lawrence Washington. Young George Washington 
spent much of his time at Behoir and after he became the 
proprietor of Mount Vernon^ the happy relations still con- 
tinued with his neighbours. The contents oi Behoir were 
sold by auction in 1 774, on which occasion Washington 
bought articles of furniture to the value of ^i 69-1 2-6, and 
has left a list of them in his own handwriting. 

A typical convex mirror of the period is shown in the 
illustration facing page 500, showing a corner of a room 
in the home of Mrs. William L. Royall, Richmond, Va, 
This mirror, which is one of a pair, is exceedingly hand- 
some. The carving of the dolphins and the burning torch 
is well executed. The entire frame and the sconces are 
gilt, and a band of black just below the large balls lends 
relief. These mirrors were the property of the Coles fam- 
ily of Virginia, and were long in the house of John Ruth- 
erfoord. Governor of Virginia, who married Emily Coles, 
and were inherited by their granddaughter, Mrs. Royall, 
the present owner. 

The Gothic chair in the same picture belonged to the 
Rutherfoords; the spinning-wheel was owned by Mrs. Tay- 
lor, the sister of Chief-Justice Marshall of Virginia, and 
descended to her grandson. Dr. William L. Royall; while 

499 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the candelabra of bronze and gold, representing Victory 
holding sconces in the shape of trumpets, were imported 
into the country by Andrew Stevenson, minister to the 
Court of Saint James, and descended by inheritance 
to Mrs. Royall. The only other similar pair in the 
country are at the White House ^ in Washington. 

Belvoir was of brick and two stories high, with four 
rooms on the ground floor and five on the second, and serv- 
ants' hall and cellar below. It was almost entirely fur- 
nished with valuable mahogany articles. 

The " Dining-Room*' contained a mahogany five-foot 
sideboard table ; one pair mahogany square card tables ; 
an oval bottle cistern on a frame ; a " sconce glass gilt in 
Burnished Gold''; twelve mahogany chairs; three crim- 
son morine drapery window curtains ; a large Wilton Per- 
sian carpet ; and a " scallopt mahogany voider," a knife tray, 
two dish trays, a " large mahogany cut rim tea tray," tongs, 
shovel, dogs and fender, comprised the list of small articles. 
In the parlour was a mahogany table (dining) ; a "mahog- 
any spider leg table"; "a folding fire screen lined with 
yellow"; two mahogany armchairs covered with figured 
hair ; a chimney-glass ; two Saxon green plain drapery 
curtains ; and dogs, tongs, shovel and fender. In Mrs. 
Fairfax's Chamber : a mahogany chest of drawers ; a bed- 
stead and curtains ; window curtains ; four chairs ; a dressing 
table ; and hearth furniture. In Colonel Fairfax's Room : 
a mahogany settee bedstead with Saxon green covers; a 
mahogany desk ; a mahogany shaving-table ; four chairs 
and covers ; a mahogany Pembroke table ; dogs, shovel, 
tongs and fender. 

Of all the colonial houses now standing. Mount Vernon 
is the most interesting, on account of its associations. It 

500 




MIRROR, CHAIR, SPINNING-WHEEL AND BRONZE AND 
GILT CANDELABRA 

OtuntJ by Dr. and Mri. IVilliam L. Rnyall, Richmond, fa. Ste fagt ^gg. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

was built in 1743, by Lawrence Washington, when he 
married Miss Fairfax. Soon after his death in 1751, 
Mount Vernon passed by inheritance to his half-brother, 
George Washington, and here the latter brought his bride 




ELEANOR CUSTIS S HARPSICHORD AND TAMBOUR FRAME 
Now at Mount yernun, Va. See pige 50». 

in 1759. Six years after Washington came into possession 
of Mount Vernon, he evidently thought his furniture needed 
repairing. 

In 1757, he wrote to Richard Washington: "Be 
pleased, over and above what I have wrote for in a letter 
of the 13th of April, to send me i doz. strong chairs, of 
about 1 5 shillings apiece, the bottoms exactly made by the 
enclosed dimensions, and of three different colours to suit 
the paper of three of the bed-chambers also wrote for in 
my last. I must acquaint you, sir, with the reason of the 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

request. I have one dozen chairs that were made in this 
country ; neat, but too weak for common sitting. I there- 
fore propose to take the bottoms out of those and put 
them into those now ordered, while the bottoms which 
you send will do for the former, and furnish the chambers. 
For this reason the workmen must be very exact, neither 
making the bottoms larger nor smaller than the dimen- 
sions, otherwise the change can't be made. Be kind 
enough to give directions that these chairs, equally with 
the others and the tables, be carefully packed and stowed. 
Without this caution, they are liable to infinite damage/* 

In 1759, he again writes to London for "2 more chair 
bottoms, and i more Window Curtain and Cornice.'* 

He also sent for busts of Alexander the Great, Julius 
Caesar, Charles XII. of Sweden and the King of Prussia, **not 
to exceed fifteen inches in height, nor ten in width," " 2 
other busts of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlbor- 
ough, somewhat smaller, 2 Wild Beasts, not to exceed 
twelve inches in height, nor eighteen in length. Sundry 
ornaments for chimney-piece." 

In 1 76 1, he sends to London, to Mr. Plinius, harpsi- 
chord-maker, in South Audley Street, Grosvenor Square, 
for a good instrument. He also gave a harpsichord to 
Eleanor Custis, his stepdaughter, for a wedding-present. 
This interesting instrument, which appears on page 501, 
has again found its place at Mount Vernon^ and stands in 
the room known as " Miss Custis's Music Room." The 
mahogany stool in front of the harpsichord is somewhat 
clumsy, and the carved dolphins forming the legs contrib- 
ute its one interesting feature. This also belonged to Miss 
Custis, as did the tambour frame. Upon this is a piece 
of her unfinished embroidery. 

50a 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

When Washington arrived in New York, he first took 
up his residence in the house provided by Congress. This 
was No. 3 Cherry Street and Franklin Square, and the 
rooms were large and numerous. Mr. Osgood had been 
requested by a Resolution to put the house and the furni- 
ture thereof into proper condition for the residence and 
use of the President of the United States. According to 
an eye-witness, the furniture was extremely plain, but in 
keeping and well disposed, and arranged so as to give prom- 
ise of substantial comfort. Mrs. Washington had sent by 
sea from Mount Vernon many ornaments and other articles, 
including pictures, vases, etc., that they liked to have, on 
account of associations. The rooms of Mount Vernon were 
full of souvenirs and offerings by many admirers. These 
included not only pictures and busts, but various relics, 
such as the key of the Bastille (presented by Lafayette in 
1789), swords and other arms, and even furniture. Among 
others, Samuel Vaughan, an English admirer, sent to 
Washington in 1785, a magnificent marble mantelpiece, 
specially made in Italy, and three handsome porcelain 
vases. The mantelpiece still stands in the " Banquet 
Hall." Another interesting object is a carpet that now 
covers the floor of the West parlour in Mount Vernon. 
This carpet was made for Washington by order of Louis 
XVL, at the Gobelins manufactory, and is shown facing 
page 520. It afterwards came into the possession of the 
Hon. Jasper Yeates, of Lancaster, Pa. It remained on his 
parlour floor during his lifetime, and until about the middle 
of the present century, when his daughters had possession 
of the house. When the establishment was broken up, 
the carpet was offered for sale. This time it was pur- 
chased by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Sarah Y. Whelen, of 

503 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Philadelphia, and by her presented to the Mount Vernon 
Association. 

It will be noticed that this carpet contains the heraldic 
arms of the new Federal Government, being sown with 
stars and bearing a central medallion of the eagle holding 
an olive branch and the arrows in its two claws, while be- 
low and above the bird are the stars and stripes. In front 
of the mantelpiece stands a chair of the Louis Seize type 
that was presented to General Washington by Lafayette. 
On either side of it are two excellent examples of " Chip- 
pendale" chairs, — mahogany, of course, and in reality devel- 
opments of the old four-back chair that persistently outlives 
all fashions and styles. (See page 87.) The mantelpiece, 
ceiling and wall-panels of this room date from 1743, and 
above the mantelpiece is carved the Washington coat-of- 
arms. George Washington's initials and his crest are cast 
in the iron firebacks. The painting of the panel inserted 
into the mantelpiece is said to represent Admiral Vernon's 
fleet at Cartagena, and was sent to Lawrence Washington 
as a present from Admiral Vernon when he learned that 
the estate was named for him. Lawrence Washington 
owned 2,500 acres, but General Washington increased the 
property to nearly 8,000. He also enlarged the house, 
which is built of stone and brick, with a framework of 
oak. 

Mount Vernon^ although in no sense palatial, was com- 
fortable throughout. The "New Room'* was furnished 
handsomely. There were two sideboards here, adorned 
with six mahogany knife-cases, China images, and a China 
flower-pot; two candle-stands, two fire-screens, two stools, 
two large looking-glasses and twenty-seven mahogany 
chairs comprised the wooden furniture. The window- 

504 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

curtains were valuable, as were also "two elegant lustres." 
Two silver-plated lamps contributed additional light, the 
floor was covered with a good mat, and among the orna- 
ments were five China jars. The hearth-furniture was com- 
plete, and pictures and prints worth ^973 adorned the walls. 



CHAIR FROM MOUNT VERNON AND PAINTED ROSEWOOD CARD- 
TABLE FROM PRESTWOULD 
Now owned by the Valentine MuKum, Richmond, Vi. See pige 51J. 

The "Front Parlour" contained an expensive sofa and 
eleven mahogany chairs. The rest of the furniture con- 
sisted of a rich looking-glass and a tea-table. A handsome 
carpet and window-curtains gave an air of comfort, and 
the logs rested on bright andirons. Three lamps, two 
with mirrors, were not only for light, but were probably 
as ornamental as the five China flower-pots. There were 
many pictures on the walls. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

A looking-glass, a tea-table, a settee, ten Windsor 
chairs, a carpet, window-curtains, andirons, tongs and fen- 
der and pictures made the "little Parlour" comfortable. 

There were two dining-tables and a tea-table in the 
" Dining-Room,*' a mahogany sideboard, two knife-cases 
and a large case, an oval looking-glass and ten mahogany 
chairs. Here we find a carpet and window-curtains and 
the usual hearth furniture and pictures. 

In the " Bedroom," there is, of course, a bed, bedstead 
and mattress, a looking-glass, a small table, four mahogany 
or walnut chairs, window curtains and blinds, a carpet, 
andirons, etc., and one large picture. 

In the " Passage," there are fourteen mahogany chairs, 
four images over the door, a spy-glass, a thermometer and 
pictures. 

In the "Closet," we find a fire-screen, and "a machine 
to scrape shoes on"; and on the Verandah or "Piazza" 
there are thirty Windsor chairs. 

A great number of prints are hung along the staircase, 
and a looking-glass is found in the passage on the second 
floor. 

Passing into the " Front Room," we find the carpet 
and window-curtains and open fire that render every room 
so warm and comfortable, a bed, bedstead, and curtains, a 
dressing-table, a large looking-glass, a wash-basin and 
pitcher, and six mahogany chairs. Prints decorate the walls. 

In the " Second Room," the bed, bedstead and curtains 
and window-curtains are first noticeable ; the rest of the 
furniture consists of a looking-glass, a dressing-table, wash- 
basin and pitcher, an armchair and four chairs, a carpet, 
and andirons, etc. A portrait of General Lafayette hangs 
in this room. 

506 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The " Third Room " has, of course, its carpet, window- 
curtains and andirons, and a very fine bedstead, bed and 
curtains, a chest of drawers, six mahogany chairs, a look- 
ing-glass and wash-basin and pitcher. We also find prints 
on the walls. 

A bed, bedstead and curtains, carpet and window-cur- 
tains, five mahogany chairs, a pine dressing-table, a large 
looking-glass, a close chair, wash-basin and pitcher, and- 
irons and prints furnish the " Fourth Room." 

In the " Small Room," we find a bed and bedstead, a 
dressing-table, a washstand, a dressing-glass and three 
Windsor chairs. 

In the " Room which Mrs. Washington now keeps," 
there are a bed, bedsteads and mattress, an oval looking- 
glass, a fender, andirons, etc., a table, three chairs, and a 
carpet; and in "Mrs. Washington's old Room" we note 
a bed, bedstead and curtains, a glass, a dressing-table, a 
writing-table and a writing-chair, an easy-chair, two ma- 
hogany chairs, a chest of drawers, a time-piece, and pictures. 

The "Study" contains quite an odd assortment of fur- 
niture and articles, consisting of a bureau, a tambour secre- 
tary, a walnut table, two pine writing-tables, a writing- 
desk and apparatus, a circular chair, an armchair, a dress- 
ing-table, an oval looking-glass, eleven spy-glasses, a case 
of surveying instruments, a globe, two brass candlesticks, 
seven swords and blades, four canes, seven guns, 44 lbs. 1 5 
oz. of plate worth $900, plated ware worth $424, and 
many other articles. 

The most noticeable feature of the furniture of Mount 
Vernon is the great number of chairs in the house, and 
the number of prints and pictures. Altogether there were 
139 chairs worth $658.50. The pictures and prints were 

507 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

valued at $2,008.25. The total value of the furniture at 
Mount Vernon equalled $3,420. As the rooms in Mount 
Vernon are not by any means large, they must have been 
very crowded with the articles mentioned above. Where 
the clothing was kept is a mystery, as there are no presses or 
wardrobes in the inventory, and there are no closets in the 
house. Martha Washington's trunk, similar to the cylin- 
drical one facing. page 224, is in the Newark Historical 
Society. The size of the trunks makes us wonder, also, 
how the people of the period carried their silks and satins, 
wigs and furbelows from place to place. 

A picture of one side of Washington's bedroom has al- 
ready appeared as the frontispiece to our second chapter ; 
the other side of the same room is shown facing this page. 
Here we find a comfortable armchair of the Louis Seize 
period ; a small candlestand with " snake feet " and revolv- 
ing top ; a very early chair of the Chippendale period, 
as is evidenced by the simple square back and plain jar- 
shaped unperforated splat ; a good mahogany library book- 
case of the Chippendale school ; a trunk that accompanied 
Washington on his campaigns ; and a pair of simple brass 
andirons. All of these pieces were used by Washington. 
Two chair cushions embroidered by Mrs. Washington are 
also preserved here. 

After Washington's death in 1799, the house remained 
intact for some years, but Mrs. Washington bequeathed the 
furniture to her four grand-children. Hence the house- 
hold articles and relics were widely scattered ; many pieces 
of furniture and other treasures have, fortunately, found 
their way back, some by gift and some by purchase, since 
the " Mount Vernon , Ladies' Association of the Union" 
was organized in 1856. The house with 200 acres was 

508 



1 ^ fil^^l 


1 P "E 


^^H^^^^^^^l 


1 ^l ■ 


l^n^^l 


HH^I^Eh, ^fl^^^^^^^^^^^^H 








m ■ iNi^^^^^^^l 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

bought by this society in 1858 from Mr. John A. Wash- 
ington, Jr., and his heirs. 

The house is now a museum of old furniture and relics, 
but there are comparatively few of the Washington posses- 
sions here. Among the original pieces of furniture, we may 
note: a Heppelwhite sideboard and an iron fireback with 
the Fairfax coat-of-arms bought from Be/voir, in the " Din- 
ing-Room"; clock and vases, silver bracket lamps, rose- 
wood flower-stands, a looking-glass, and an ornament for 
the dining-table in the " Banquet Hall '' ; a corner wash- 
hand stand in " Mrs. Washington's Room " ; and a num- 
ber of chairs that are scattered throughout the house. A 
globe, curtain cornices, and several prints and engravings 
that were originally in Mount Vernon have also been re- 
turned. 

Washington was very particular about his household 
appointments, and was very receptive to the newest fash- 
ions. Soon after his arrival in New York, he had his silver 
plate melted down and reproduced in what were considered 
more elegant and harmonious forms. This was a very 
common practice; we have seen the same thing done a 
century before this (see page 43). 

The President occupied the house in Cherry Street 
only nine months, as it was not sufficiently convenient. 
His new house was on Broadway near Bowling Green : for 
this he paid what was regarded as the extremely high rent 
of $2,500 per annum. Entries in Washington's Diary 
show the minute care he took in household matters. 

"Monday, Feb. i, 1790. Agreed on Saturday laist to 
take Mr. McCombs's house, lately occupied by the Minis- 
ter of France, for one year from and after the first day of 
May next ; and would go into it immediately, if Mr. Otto, 

509 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the present possessor, could be accommodated; and this 
day sent my Secretary to examine the rooms to see how my 
furniture could be adapted to the respective apartments/* 

"Wednesday, 3d. Visited the apartments in the house 
of Mr. McCombs — ^made a disposition of the rooms — 
fixed on some furniture of the Minister's (which was to be 
sold, and was well adapted to particular public rooms) — 
and directed additional stables to be built.*' 

"Saturday, 13th. Walked in the forenoon to the house 
to which I am about to remove. Gave directions for the 
arrangement of the furniture, etc., and had some of it 
put up." 

" Tuesday, 1 6th. Rode to my intended habitation, and 
gave some directions respecting the arrangement of the 
furniture." 

"Saturday, 20th. Set seriously about removing my 
furniture to my new house. Two of the gentlemen of the 
family had their beds taken there, and would sleep there 
to-night." 

" Tuesday, 23 rd. After dinner, Mrs. Washington, my- 
self and children removed, and lodged at our new habita- 
tion." 

"Wednesday, 24th. Employed in arranging matters 
about the house and fixing matters." 

" Thursday, 25th. Engaged as yesterday." 

One of the pieces of furniture that Washington bought 
from the French Minister was a bureau which was after- 
wards an object of special bequest. In his will we read : 
" To my companion in arms and old and intimate fi-iend. 
Dr. Craik, I give my beaureau (or as cabinet-makers call it, 
tambour secretary), and the circular chair, an appendage 
of my study." 

510 



*•■* v*w - 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Whether the large mahogany desk that appears on 
this page is the one referred to above, we do not know ; but 
it is certain that Washington used this from 1789 to 1797. 



.''..^K!?!!!fJ«:«WK^ij^,,,„^,, 




It is clumsy but very commodious, and the only pretence 
to ornament is the turned balusters at the top and the bell- 
flower, which is unusually large and ungraceful, framing 
the lower drawers. This is inlaid in satin-wood. Above 
the lower drawers are two metal handles, which, when 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

pulled forward, draw out a slab for writing, and the cylin- 
drical top rolls upward out of sight, like the ordinary office 
desk of to-day. This piece of furniture is now owned by 
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

When the seat of government removed from New 
York to Philadelphia, the President leased the house that 
had successively been occupied by Richard Penn, General 
Howe, Benedict Arnold, Holkar, the French consul, and 
Robert Morris. In his directions to his secretary, Washing- 
ton writes : 

" Mr. and Mrs. Morris have insisted upon leaving the 
two large looking-glasses which are in their best rooms 
because they have no place, they say, proper to remove 
them to, and because they are unwilling to hazard the tak- 
ing of them down. You will, therefore, let them have in- 
stead, the choice of mine : the large ones I purchased of 
the French minister they do not incline to take, but will 
be glad of some of the others. They will also leave a 
large glass lamp in the entry or hall, and will take one or 
more of my glass lamps in lieu of it. . . . Mrs. Morris 
has a mangle * (I think it is called) for ironing clothes, 
which, as it is fixed in the place where it is commonly 
used, she proposes to leave and take mine. To this, I have 
no objection, provided mine is equally good and conveni- 
ent ; but if I should obtain any advantages besides that of 
its being up and ready for use, I am not inclined to receive 
it. 



* It is interesting to note that seven yean before this, a mangle had been a novelty to 
Washington. An entry in his Diary (September 3, 1787) reads: «Phila. — In Convention 
. . . . visited a machine at Dr. Franklin* s (called a mangle) for pressing in place of 
ironing clothes from the wash — which machine from the facility with which it despatches 
business is well calculated for tablecloths, and such articles as have not pleats and irregular 
foldings, and would be very useful in all large families.** He evidently bought one soon. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

" I have no particular direction to give respecting the 
appropriation of the furniture. By means of the bow win- 
dows the back rooms will become the largest, and, of 
course, will receive the furniture of the largest dining- and 
drawing-rooms, and in that case, though there are no clos- 




CHAiR FROM Washington's presidential mansion, Philadelphia 

Now owned by the Hltioricil Sociciy of Hhitideliihli, Pcnniylvinia. Sec pige 514-1 J. 



ets in them, there are some in the steward's room, directly 
opposite, which are not inconvenient. There is a small 
room adjoining the kitchen, that might, if it is not essen- 
tial for other purposes, be appropriated for the Sevres china, 
and other things of that sort, which are not in common 
use. Mrs. Morris, who is a notable lady in family arrange- 
ments, can give you much information on all the conveni- 
ences about the house and buildings, and I dare say would 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

rather consider it a compliment to be consulted in those 
matters, than a trouble to give her opinion of them. 

" I approve, at least till inconvenience or danger shall 
appear, of the large table ornaments remaining on the side- 
board, and of the pagodas standing in the smallest drawing- 
room. Had I delivered my sentiments from here respect- 
ing this fixture, that is the apartment I should have named 
for it. Whether the green, virhich you have, or a new^ yellovir 
curtain, should be appropriated to the staircase above the 
hall, may depend on your getting an exact match, in colour, 
and so forth of the latter. For the sake of appearances 
one would not in instances of this kind, regard a small 
additional expense/* 

An account of a visit to this house is given by Thomas 
Twining, who writes : 

" At one o'clock to-day I called at General Washing- 
ton's with the picture and letter I had for him. He lived 
in a small red brick house on the left side of High Street, 
not much higher up than Fourth Street. There was noth- 
ing in the exterior of the house that denoted the rank 
of its possessor. Next door was a hair-dresser. Having 
stated my object to a servant who came to the door, I 
was conducted up a neat but rather narrow staircase car- 
peted in the middle, and was shown into a middling- 
sized, well-furnished drawing-room on the left of the 
passage. Nearly opposite the door was the fireplace, 
with a wood fire in it. The floor was carpeted. On the 
left of the fireplace was a sofa which sloped across the 
room. There were no pictures on the walls, no ornaments 
on the chimney-piece. Two windows on the right of the 
entrance looked into the street." 

On page 513 appears a chair that was in the Presi- 

5«4 



^—■^■■■^^ 


9S 




~" V^^'ifTf ."''nr ~ 


TrjUS—J'- ^ 


ttd 


M 



MUSICAL GLASSES IN MAHOGANY FRAME 

Ovm€d bj Mri. John Tajtoe Ftrria, Ballimtre, Md. Sre fagi ^33. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

dential Mansion in Philadelphia. It is a good example 
of the Louis Seize period. It is painted white and gilt, 
while the upholstering is of white brocade sprinkled with 
flowers of bright hue. This valuable chair is now owned 




CHAIR GIVEN BV GEORGE WASHINGTON TO READ 
Owned by hit doccnJant, Mr. H. PumpcU; Reid, Albinr, N. Y. See pige ;ie. 

by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 
Another chair owned by Washington is seen on page 505. 
This is of the Heppelwhite school. What the wood is 
we cannot tell, for it is painted white. The seat is orange 
plush. The chair was originally in Mount Vernon, but is 
now owned by the Valentine Museum, Richmond, Va. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Other specimens of furniture from Mount Vernon appear on 
page 119 and page 123, 

Washington was not only fond of furnishing his own 
home, but sometimes gave presents of furniture to his 
friends. On page 515 is represented a chair that he gave 
to George Read, a signer of the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, and which is now owned by the latter's descendant, 
Mr. H. Pumpelly Read of Albany, N. Y. It is in the 
Sheraton style with fluted legs and the lyre-back, which 
was so popular in the Louis Seize period and so frequently 
used by Sheraton. This has been restored according to 
tradition, and is painted white picked out with gold. 

Scarcely second in interest to Mount Vernon is Monticello^ 
the home of Thomas Jeflferson, though its remoteness 
makes it practically inaccessible to the patriotic tourist. 
All the distinguished foreigners who came to this country 
and recorded their impressions have left glowing accounts 
of the house, its beautiful situation among the Blue Ridge 
Mountains, and its hospitable owner. Levasseur, who ac- 
companied Lafayette on his visit there in 1825, thus de- 
scribes the mansion : 

" The hospitality of Mr. Jeflferson is proverbial, his 
house is constantly open, not only to numerous visitors from 
the neighbourhood, but also to all the foreign travellers who 
were attracted by curiosity or the very natural desire of 
seeing and conversing with the sage of Monttcello. The 
dwelling is built in the figure of an irregular octagon, with 
porticoes at the east and west, and peristyles on the north 
and south. Its extent comprising the peristyles and porti- 
coes is about no feet by 90 ; the exterior is in the Doric 
order, and surmounted by balustrades. The interior of the 
house is ornamented in the diflferent orders of architecture, 

S16 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

except the composite ; the vestibule is Doric ; the dining- 
room, Doric ; the drawing-room, Corinthian ; and the 
dome, Attic. The chambers are ornamented in the differ- 
ent forms of these orders in true proportion as given by 
Palladio. Throughout this delightful dwelling are to be 
found proofs of the good taste of the proprietor, and of his 
enlightened love for the arts. His parlour is ornamented 
by a beautiful collection of paintings, among which we 
remarked with pleasure an Ascension by Poussin, a holy 
family by Raphael ; a flagellation of Christ by Rubens, and 
a crucifixion by Guido. In the dining-room were four 
beautiful busts of Washington, Franklin, Lafayette and 
Paul Jones. There were also some other fine pieces of 
sculpture in different parts of the house. The library, 
without being extensive, is well selected ; but what espe- 
cially excites the curiosity of visitors is the rich museum 
situated at the entrance of the house. This extensive and 
excellent collection consists of offensive and defensive arms, 
dresses, ornaments, and utensils of different savage tribes of 
North America.'* 

We have no means of forming an exact idea of the 
contents of each of the rooms in Monticelloj because, in 
his will, Jefferson departed from the usual custom : " In 
consequence of the variety and indescribableness of the ar- 
ticles of property within the house of Monticello^ and the 
difficulty of inventorying and appraising them separately 
and specifically, and its inutility, I dispense with having 
them inventoried and appraised." In 1 8 1 5, however, Jef- 
ferson had drawn up a list of his taxable property in Albe- 
marle County, At that date the household furniture con- 
sisted of: " 4 clocks, I bureau or secretary (mahogany), 2 
book cases do,, 4 chests of drawers, do., i side board with 

5«7 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

doors and drawers (mahogany), 8 separate parts of dining 
table do., 1 3 tea and card tables, do., 6 sophas with gold 
leaf, 36 chairs (mahogany), 44 do. gold leaf, 1 1 pr. win- 
dow curtains foreign, 1 6 portraits in oil, i do. crayon, 64 
pictures, prints and engravings, with frames more than 12 
in., 39 do. under 12 in. with gilt frames, 3 looking glasses 
5 ft. long, 1 3 do. 4 ft. and not 5 ft., i do. 3 ft. and not 4 
ft., 2 do. 2 ft. and not 3 ft., i harpischord, 2 silver 
watches, 2 silver coffee pots, 3 plated urns and coffee pots, 
13 plated candlesticks, 4 cut glass decanters, 10 silver 
cups.'* 

The mahogany bureau or secretary mentioned above 
appears on page 519. It now belongs to Miss Eva Mar- 
shall Thomas of Richmond, Va., and was purchased at the 
Monticello sale by Governor Gilmer. Colonel John Rus- 
sell Jones from Albemarle, Va., was also a bidder. At the 
sale of Governor Gilmer's effects. Colonel Jones was enabled 
to gain possession of it, and through him it descended 
to Miss Thomas. 

It is interesting to find that Jefferson's keen intellect 
recognized that objects associated with the genesis of the 
United States were likely to become intensely interesting 
on that account, and that he regarded such a reverential 
attitude of mind as entirely proper, as the following corre- 
spondence published in the Collections of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society proves. 

He writes to his grand-daughter, Ellen W. Coolidge, 
from Monticello^ November 14, 1 825 : "I received a letter 
from a friend in Philadelphia lately, asking information of 
the house, and room of the house there, in which the 
Declaration of Independence was written, with a view to 
ftiture celebrations of the 4th of July in it; another enquir- 

S18 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ing whether a paper given to the Philosophical Society 
there, as a rough draught of that Declaration was genuinely 
so. A society is formed there lately for an annual celebra- 
tion of the advent of Penn to that place. It was held in 
his antient mansion, and the chair in which he actually 
sate when at his writing table was presented by a lady 




THOMAS JEFFERSON S DESK 
Owned by Miia En MiiihiU Thomas, Richmond, Vi. Sec page ;lS. 

owning it, and was occupied by the president of the cele- 
bration. Two other chairs were given them, made of the 
elm under the shade of which Penn had made his first 
treaty with the Indians. If these things acquire a super- 
stitious value because of their connection with particular 
persons, surely a connection with the great Charter of our 
Independence may give a value to what has been associated 
with that ; and such was the idea of the enquirers after the 
room in which it was written. Now I happen still to possess 
the writing-box on which it was written. It was made from 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

a drawing of my own by Ben. Randall, a cabinet-maker in 
whose house I took my first lodgings on my arrival in Phila- 
delphia in May, 1777, and I have used it ever since. It 
claims no merit of particular beauty. It is plain, neat, 
convenient, and, taking no more room on the writing- 
table than a moderate 4to volume, it yet displays itself suf- 
ficiently for any writing. Mr. Coolidge must do me the 
favour of accepting this. Its imaginary value will increase 
with years, and if he lives to my age, or another half-cen- 
tury, he may see it carried in the procession of our nation's 
birthday, as relics of the Saints are in those of the Church. 
I will send it thro' Col. Peyton, and hope with better for- 
tune than that for which it is to be a substitute." * 
Mr. Joseph Coolidge's reply was as follows : 
"The desk arrived safely, furnished with a precious 
document which adds very greatly to its value ; for the 
same hand which, half a century ago, traced upon it the 
words which have gone abroad upon the earth, now attests 
its authenticity and consigns it to myself. When I think 
of the desk * in connection with the great charter of our in- 
dependence,' I feel a sentiment almost of awe, and ap- 
proach it with respect ; but when I remember that it 
has served you fifty years, been the faithful depository of 
your cherished thoughts, that upon it have been written 
your letters to illustrious and excellent men, good plans for 
the advancement of civil and religious liberty and of art 
and science, that it has, in fact, been the companion of 
your studies and the instrument of diffusing their results, 
that it has been a witness of a philosophy which calumny 

* This desk was presented to the United States by the heirs of Mr. Joseph Coolidge. 
(See Proceedings in the Senate and House of Representatives, April 23, 1880, on the 
Occasion of the Presentation of Thomas Jefferson's writing-desk.) 

510 





WEST PARLOUR, MOUNT VERNON 
Stt pagi S03. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

could not subdue, and of an enthusiasm which eighty 
winters have not chilled, — I would fain consider it as no 
longer inanimate and mute, but as something to be interro- 
gated and caressed/' 

Another desk belonging to one of the makers of 
American history appears on page 491. This is a simple 
mahogany desk originally owned by President Madison 
and now the property of Mrs. George Ben Johnston, 
Richmond, Va. 

It is well known how fond of music Thomas Jefferson 
was. He not only played the violin, but he seems to have 
been alive to all the new inventions. 

While visiting Philadelphia in 1800, Thomas Jeffer- 
son writes to his daughter : " A very ingenious, modest 
and poor young man in Philadelphia, has invented one of 
the prettiest improvements in the pianoforte that I have 
seen, and it has tempted me to engage one for Monticello. 
His strings are perpendicular, and he contrives within that 
height to give his strings the same length as in a grand 
pianoforte, and fixes the three unisons to the same screw. 
It scarcely gets out of tune at all, and then, for the most 
part, the three unisons are tuned at once.** 

This musb have been similar to the keyed harp which 
J. A. Guttwaldt, 75 Maiden Lane, advertises in the Even- 
ing Posty in 181 8, as "a musical instrument that perfectly 
equals the harp in sound, and far surpasses it in point of 
easy treatment, as it is played like the piano, by means of 
keys, and consequently has all the advantages of brilliant 
modulation ; the only one in the United States.** This 
instrument was, undoubtedly, the piano-harp, which is some- 
times erroneously called harpsichord. 

JefFerson*s interest in music never abated. We find his 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

grand-daughter, Ellen W. Coolidge, writing to him from 
Boston on December 26, 1825: "I have written a long 
letter and in great part by candle-light, but I cannot close 
without saying that the brandy, etc., will be shipped in about 
a week along with a piano built for Virginia in this town, 
a very beautiful piece of workmanship, and doing, I think, 
great credit to the young mechanic whom we employed, 
and whose zeal was much stimulated by the knowledge 
that his work would pass under your eye. The tones of 
the instrument are fine, and its interior structure compares 
most advantageously with that of the English-built pianos, 
having, we think, a decided superiority. The manufac- 
turer believes that it will be to his advantage to have it 
known that he was employed in such a work for you, or 
what amounts to the same thing, for one of your family, 
living under your roof. Willard, the clock-maker, is, as I 
mentioned before, very solicitous to have the making of 
the time-piece for the University, has already begun it 
{upon his own responsibility and knowing the circumstances 
of the case, as we have taken care to mislead or deceive 
him in nothing), and wishes to be informed exactly as to 
the dimensions of the room in which the clock is to 
stand.'* 

Thomas Jefferson replies from Monticelloy May 19, 
1826: "The pianoforte is also in place, and Mrs. Carey 
happening here has exhibited to us its full powers, which 
are indeed great. Nobody slept the ist night, nor is the 
tumult yet over on this the 3rd day of its emplacement!^ 

In 1824, we find in the New York Evening Post an 
advertisement that a Mr. Cartwright will perform on the 
" Musical Glasses" at 63 Liberty Street, and that the selec- 
tions will be " English, Scotch and Irish melodies." This 

511 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

brings to our notice an interesting instrument that was 
very popular in the early part of the nineteenth century. 
It is known by the name of Harmonicon as well as that of 
Musical Glasses. A very handsome specimen of this appears 
facing page 514. 

The twenty-four glasses are shaped like ordinary finger- 
bowls, except that they are fastened into the sounding-board 
by means of short stems. Each glass contains on the front 
the letter of the note it gives when the wet finger is ap- 
plied to it. The glasses are placed in four rows of six 
glasses each. 

This curious instrument also forms an interesting piece 
of furniture. Its frame and case are mahogany. The 
arrangement of its two back pillars suggests the console 
table. The box containing the glasses rests upon these 
and is supported in the front by a lyre terminating in beau- 
tifully carved eagles' heads. The strings on the lyre are 
inlaid brass. The fanciful shaped base stands upon lions' 
claws, while beneath the pillars the ball and acanthus leaf 
occur. This Harmonicon was originally owned by Mrs. 
John Prosser of Gloucester County, Va., who bought it 
about eighty years ago. It became the property of her 
daughter, Mrs. John Tabb of White Marshy Va., and de- 
scended through her son. Dr. John Prosser Tabb, to his 
daughter, Mrs. John Tayloe Perrin of Baltimore. It was 
played for the entertainment of Gen. Robert E. Lee when 
he visited White Marsh in 1866. 

These instruments are quite rare, though occasionally 
they are seen in museums devoted to musical curiosities. 
A similar instrument is owned by Mr. Henry Kellogg of 
Lutherville, Md., and another by Mr. E. G. Butler of 
Dabney, N. C. 

S»3 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR. FOREFATHERS 

What we particularly notice regarding musical instru- 
ments at the period under review is the continued popu- 
larity of the harpsichord and the introduction and popularity 
of its successor, the pianoforte. The latter is a much older 
instrument than is commonly supposed. Its origin is 
usually attributed to Cristofori, a harpsichord-maker of 
Padua, and the date of its appearance, 1709. The name, 
however, is traced to 1598. Until 1760, all pianos were 
made in the wing-shape, which we now call ** grands,*' 
but in that year, Zumpe, a German maker, introduced 
the ** square." It was also about 1760 that twelve skil- 
ful German workmen went to London, became associated 
with the Broadwoods, and have since been known as " the 
twelve apostles" of piano-making. One of them was 
John Geib, the inventor of the "grass-hopper action," 
whose sons became conspicuous in New York. William 
Southall of Dublin patented a " cabinet " or " upright " in 
1807; but in 1794 the same maker, "with the addition 
of treble keys," gave the piano six octaves — ^from F to F. 
" Pianos with additional keys " are frequently advertised 
in the New York newspapers from this time onward. In 
1797, " Michael Canschut, Forte Piano-maker," has "just 
finished an elegant well-toned Grand Forte piano with ad- 
ditional keys and double-bridged sounding board — the first 
of the kind ever made in this city." This was probably Mr. 
Southall's patent. The London makers soon begin to send 
instruments to America, and it is not long before branch 
houses or new manufactories are established in various 
parts of the United States. One of these dealers was John 
Jacob Astor, who began to import pianos to this country 
about 1763. In 1783, he sailed for Baltimore, with some 
flutes, but fell in with a fur dealer, which chance led him 

5*4 




LADY'S WRITING-DESK 

Owntd by Cbarlti B. Titman, Eij , Ballimtre, MJ. Set fagn 533-3- 



» » «► w 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

into the fur business. He exported furs and imported pianos 
until furs absorbed all of his energies. He was succeeded 
about 1802 by John and Michael Paff. 

Another early maker was Charles Albrecht, who made 
pianos in Philadelphia before 1789, the date upon the ex- 




Midc br Clurle* Albitxhl, Philadelphia, 



rical Society of Phibdd. 



ample owned by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 
Philadelphia and represented on this page. The case is 
perfectly simple and of no special interest. It will be seen 
that this has only four octaves and four keys, and the fact 
that it has no pedals shows that it is an exceedingly primi- 
tive instrument. 

In 1801, J. Hewitt, 59 Maiden Lane, sells "grand 
pianofortes, uprights and longways, with additional keys. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

square ditto with or without additional keys'*; and he also 
has " organs, violins, violoncellos, bows, kits, flutes, clar- 
inets, hoboys, horns, bassoons, carillons, and Roman 
strings, etc/' 

In 1802, music and musical instruments could be pur- 
chased from George Gilfert, 177 Broadway, and in the 
same year John and Michael Paflf, 127 Broadway, adver- 
tise "50 square patent to F, with additional keys to F F ; 
2 grand pianofortes, a harpsichord, and an upright grand 
pianoforte'*; and in 1806 they advertise "two very elegant 
Satten Wood pianofortes/' Gibson and Davis, 58 Warren 
Street, also sold pianofortes for a great many years from 
1803. D. Mazzinghi, 1 1 Murray Street, advertises in 1803 
"pianofortes from London, made by Astor, Bell, and de- 
menti." 

In 1 8 1 6, John Paff^ has some pianofortes from London, 
costing from $200 to $300. For grand upright pianos, in 
1 817, you could ** inquire at Mr. Phyfe's Cabinet Ware- 
House, Fulton Street " ; and, in the same year, John and 
Adam Geib & Co. advertise a " superb musical clock man- 
ufactured in Paris, which plays a large variety of the best 
music, set on six barrels, and is united with a first-rate 
time-piece. It is perhaps superior to anything of the kind 
imported into the United States; being valued at thirteen 
hundred dollars ; and is offered for sale at that price, or 
will be exhibited to any Lady or Gentleman who will hon- 
our the above firm with a call at their Piano Forte ware- 
house and wholesale and retail music store. No. 2 3 Maiden 
Lane." 

The two Geibs just mentioned were among the most 
important of the early pianoforte-makers in New York. 
They were the sons of John Geib, already spoken of on 

526 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

page 524. We find them in New York, at 23 Maiden 
Lane, selling pianos made by Geib, Broad wood, Astor, and 
Clementi. The name Geib appears early in the New 
York newspapers. John Geib and Son (1807) "respect- 
fully inform the public and the lovers of the arts that they 
have just constructed a Forte Piano on a new plan, it hav- 
ing 4 pedals: ist, the Harp; 2d, the Bassoon; 3d, the 
Full Chorus : 4th, the Swell, to which they invite the cu- 
rious and ingenious, hoping it will meet their approbation." 
In 1 821, J. H. and W. Geib have for sale "a large and 
handsome assortment of Piano Fortes of the latest fashion, 
and of superior tone and workmanship, among which are 
many made by Clementi and Co. and Astor and Co. of 
London.*' These were for sale at their wholesale and 
retail store, 23 Maiden Lane. 

In 1822, A. & W. Geib have removed from 23 Mai- 
den Lane to their manufactory, Greenwich, in Barton 
Street; and in 1823, A. & W. Geib "have reopened their 
store, 23 Maiden Lane, where they offer an extensive as- 
sortment of pianofortes of their own manufacture, also 
some by Clementi and Broadwood." They have an exe- 
cutor's sale in the same year of articles belonging to the 
estate of John Geib, consisting of two elegant superior 
toned dementi's pianos, one do., round end pillar and 
claw ; one do. doz. rosewood do. and two square and com- 
mon do." In 1825 A. and W. Geib have at their "piano- 
forte warehouse, 23 Maiden Lane," "two very elegant 
rosewood pianofortes just from the manufactory." 

This firm disappears from the New York directories in 
1828, when William removes "up-town" to Eleventh 
Street. Therefore, the very handsome pianoforte that faces 
page 516, bearing the inscription : " New Patent, A. and 

527 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

W. Geib, 23 Maiden Lane, New York/' must have been 
made between the years 1823 and 1828, and may indeed 
have been one of the rosewood pianos advertised in 1825, 
This must have been in its day a very excellent instrument. 
It is now a very beautiful piece of furniture. The case is 
made of extremely handsome rosewood and is ornamented 
with two bands of ornate brasswork. The name-plate is sur- 
rounded by a cluster of daisies and morning-glories painted 
with that green metallic colouring that at this period was 
used so universally to decorate the backs of the "Fancy 
Chair." On either side of these flowers is a latticework, each 
square of which is carved and is decorated in the centre with a 
golden dot. Behind the latticework is a piece of sapphire 
velvet. A thin gold thread is painted above this decoration 
and again appears on the outside at the rounded ends where 
it forms a square. Below the two bands of metal and above 
the legs, three drawers will be noticed. The little draw- 
ers at the ends are furnished with one handsome brass knob, 
and each is lined with red velvet. The central drawer 
has two knobs. Above each of the legs a very elaborate 
medallion forms not only a decoration, but is evidently a 
necessity for hiding the screw or pin by which the leg is 
held to the body of the instrument. Such ornaments are 
invariably seen on the legs of the high-post bedsteads. 
The six legs of this piano are turned and carved with the 
acanthus in high relief, and above the carving an ornate 
band of delicately chiselled brass contributes an additional 
ornament. In the centre and a little to the left is the 
pedal, and it is interesting to compare this with the pedals 
on the harpsichord represented on page 501. The piano 
on page 525 has no pedals. 

We have already seen that musical and chiming-clocks 

518 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




SECRETARY GIVEN BY JOSEPH BONAPARTE TO STEPHEN GIRARD 
Now in Girard College, Philidelphii. Sec page 5]o. 



were in vogue before the Revolution (see pages 303—4). 
In 1776, we find an advertisement that " Mervin Perry re- 
peating and plain Clock and Watchmaker from London, 
where he has improved himself under the most eminent and 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

capital artists in those branches, has opened shop in Han- 
over Square at the Sign of the Dial. He mends and re- 
pairs musical, repeating, quarterly, chime, silent pull and 
common weight clocks." 

Clocks with automata are sometimes imported. For 
example : 

George J. Warner, lo Liberty Street, in 1795, has 
" two musical chamber clocks, with moving figures, which 
play four tunes each on two setts of elegantly well-toned 
bells, and show the hour, minute, and day of the week." 
Musical clocks with figures, and cuckoo clocks, could be 
had at Kerner and Paflf's, 245 Water Street (1796); Ed- 
ward Meeks, Jr., 1 14 Maiden Lane, " has eight-day clocks 
and chiming time-pieces'* (1796). 

In 1815— 16, Stolen werck and Brothers have for sale at 
157 Broadway "a superb musical cabinet or Panharmoni- 
con combined with a secretary and clock. The music, 
which goes by weights in the manner of a clock, consists 
of a selection of the finest pieces by the most celebrated 
composers, and is perfect. On opening the door of the 
Secretary a beautiful colonnade of alabaster pillars with 
gilded capitals and bases is displayed. The whole is about 
7 feet high, surmounted with a marble figure of Urania 
leaning on a globe, round which a zone revolves and indi- 
cates the hours. It was made at Berlin in Prussia, and cost 
$1,500." 

This must have been somewhat similar to the secretary 
shown on page 529, a present from Joseph Bonaparte to 
Stephen Girard, and now in Girard College, Philadelphia. 
This is of satin wood ornamented with ormoulu. The col- 
umns are of marble with brass capitals. In the centre of 
the arch, a clock is placed, and the secretary is equipped 

530 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

with a fine musical box. A similar piece of furniture is 
owned by Theodore B. Woolsey, Esq., New York. 

Occasionally a valuable and rare specimen finds its way 
across the Atlantic. In 1801, David F. Launay, watch- 
maker, No. 9 Warren Street, has "a high finished clock 
which decorated the library of the late King of France, 
made by Charles Bertrand of the Royal Academy ; its 
original price, 5,000 livres; to be sold for 500 dollars*'; and 
in 1 817, Ruffier & Co., importers of French Dry Goods, 
142 Broadway, advertise, "bronze clock work, a large mon- 
ument, in Bronze and Gilt ornaments, erected to the hon- 
our of the brave who fell in the ever memorable Battle of 
Waterloo, June the i8th, 181 5," and "Statue of the Em- 
peror Napoleon in imitation of that placed at the top of 
the column, erected at the Place Vendome in Paris, on a 
marble pedestal, ornamented with gilt and of a fine execu- 
tion.*' 

However, it must not be imagined that the tall clock 
has disappeared. Facing page 540 is represented one with 
a case of cherry neatly inlaid. This was made in Connec- 
ticut about 1800, and is now owned by Mr. Walter Hos- 
mer, Wethersfield, Conn. On the same plate is a variety 
of clock that has become very common. It is frequently 
called the ** banjo clock." This specimen, which belongs 
to Mrs. Wainwright, Hartford, Conn., is about three feet 
long. The square base in which, of course, the pendulum 
swings, is about twelve inches square. The pictures that 
decorate the front are painted on glass, and the framework 
is gilt. 

Joseph Bonfanti, 305 Broadway, advertises in 1823, 
" German clocks some plain with music and some with 
moving figures/* and French clocks " some with music and 

S3> 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

will play different tunes/' also " ladies' musical work- 
boxes and musical snuff-boxes/* All sorts of novelties 
could be purchased at Joseph Bonfanti's shop, and in 1824 
he constantly endeavours to attract customers by verses 
proclaiming his wares. For example : 

*' Large elegant time-pieces playing sweet tunes^ 

And cherry stones too that hold ten dozen spoons^ 
And clocks that chime sweetly on nine little bells^ 
And boxes so neat ornamented with shells. 

* * * 

'' His drawing-room ornaments whiter than plaster^ 
A beautiful stuff which is called alabaster; 
For beauty and elegance nothing surpasses^ 

Arranged on the chimney-piece in front of the glasses. 

* * * 

'' Here ladies may buy musical work-boxes gay^ 

Which while they sit working will prettily play ; 
Superb magic lanterns and tea-trays japanned^ 

Hair lockets^ steel watch chains^ quills^ wafers and sand*** 

We have noted the many kinds of furniture specially 
designed by Sheraton for ladies, and naturally the Ameri- 
can papers from about 18 10 onward frequently advertise 
work-tables, letter-cases, work-boxes, etc., and these are 
often furnished with musical boxes, such as Bonfanti de- 
scribes, and clocks. The work-table, with its drawers, its 
compartments for small articles and its pouch, was found in 
every household. We have given two examples on pages 
481 and 483. The letter-case was a desk that partook 
somewhat of the form of a screen and could be conven- 
iently moved in front of the fire. One, now in Mount 
Femon f 2ippt2Lrs on page 1 19 and another on page 473. A 
lady's desk, very similar in shape, facing page 524, belongs 
to Charles B. Tiernan, Esq., Baltimore, Md., and was im- 

53a 




MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD 

Ou-nrd by Mrs. CkarUs S. FairckilJ, Cax^rno'vin, N. T. Set page Jj6. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



ported from Europe fr>r his mother. The drawers are 
delicately inlaid with ivory in conventional garlands and are 
furnished with very small ivory knobs. The ornamental 
head of the desk contains a musical box and clock. 

The work-table shown on 
this page is interesting as a piece 
of furniture and on account of its 
history. It was designed for the 
charming Lady Blessington, by 
her admirer, Count d'Orsay, and 
stood in the drawing-room at 
Gore House for several years, be- 
fore misfortune visited it. When 
Lady Blessington fled to France, 
the sheriff seized the furniture and 
held a sale at Gore House. This 
work-table was purchased by Mr. 
Featherstonhaugh, who brought it 
to America. It is now owned by 
his son, Mr. George W. Feather- 
stonhaugh, in Schenectady, N. Y. 

The table is of a peculiar, 
vase-shaped form, and is but thirty inches high. It is eigh- 
teen inches across the top, which opens back upon a hinge, 
revealing a well surrounded by nine small compartments for 
small articles. The exterior is of hard polished wood, in- 
laid all over with wreaths of roses and forget-me-nots and 
birds. The colours of the leaves and petals of the flowers, 
as well as the feathers of the birds, are executed in variously 
coloured woods. The beautiful and delicate marquetry, as 
well as the graceful design, render this a most valuable and 
curious piece of cabinet-work. 




THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

During the Revolution, New York being in the hands 
of the British, the city retained its character as a busy 
mart, though, of course, importations of furniture were not 
as extensive as in times of peace. The New York news- 
papers contain frequent notices of auctions of household 
goods by returning officers and other officials and gentry. 
In 1780, the following advertisement appeared in the New 
York Gazette y and is typical of many : 

" All the elegant, useful and ornamental house furniture 
of a gentleman going to England, viz., a variety of plate, 
china and glass, mahogany chairs, tables, desks, bureaus, 
sideboard and cellaret, mahogany bedsteads, with rich dam- 
ask harrateen and copper-plate furniture and window cur- 
tains to match, very best feather beds and bedding, elegant 
carpets, looking-glasses, cases of knives and forks, table 
linen, fuzee and bayonet, silver-mounted pistols, handsome 
swords, perspective glasses, a prime violin of the softest 
tone, an iron chest, Madeira and claret wine, arrack, a 
number of books, brass andirons, and all kinds of kitchen 
furniture.'* 

The above mention of sideboard and cellaret reminds 
us that the sideboard was just coming into fashion, taking 
the place of the plain sideboard-table. Examples of Hep- 
pelwhite and Sheraton sideboards have been given in the 
last chapter, and on page 5 3 5 is another specimen from the 
Gansevoort home, Whitehall^ which was the headquarters 
of the British Governor in Albany. The knife-boxes, with 
the knives, standing upon it and the cellaret below, are of 
the same date and belong to it. These articles are now 
owned by Mr. Leonard Ten Eyck, Albany, N. Y. 

Sideboards are frequently advertised in New York, the 
wine-cooler or cellaret often receives special mention. In 

534 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

1808, "Egyptian wine-coolers" are introduced. This was 
* an entirely new patent cooler, very elegantly press'd with 




MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD, KNIFE-BOXES AND CELLARET, i 
HALL, THE GANSEVOORT HOME 
Owned by Mr. Leonird Ten Eyck. See page 514. 

superb figures, and undoubtedly the very best thing ever 
used for the purpose. It is made of the finest clay un- 
glaz'd, is of a salmon colour, and a handsome ornament to 
any dining-table." 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The specimen facing page 532 is a fine example of 
native workmanship. It was made in New York in 1807 
for the alcove in which it stands. This piece of furniture, 
as well as the house, Lorenzo^ built at Cazenovia, New York, 
by John Lincklaen in 1807, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. 
Charles S. Fairchild. It is of mahogany. The capitals of 
the pillars and the claw feet are well carved and the ring 
handles are original. The mirror above it and the candle- 
sticks, china and chairs all belong to the same period. 

In 1823, we find advertisements of " elegant sideboards 
inlaid with rosewood," " highly polished marble slabs for 
sideboards from Italy," and "plain and inlaid carved col- 
umn and claw feet sideboards." The latter description 
evidently fits Mrs. Fairchild's piece, which thus continued 
a fashionable model for many years. 

Still another variety appears on page 498. This speci- 
men, owned by the American Antiquarian Society of Wor- 
cester, Mass., is of mahogany with semi-circular front. 
The ever popular bell-flower is carved above the legs, and 
the lower opening beneath the arch is enclosed with a 
tambour slide. Knobs are placed upon the drawers and 
doors, but a brass escutcheon with ring handle still fur- 
nishes the tambour slide, which is made of separate strips. 

Another handsome sideboard of elaborately carved oak 
appears as the frontispiece. This belongs to Miss Jessie 
Colby of New York, and has been in the Colgate family 
for more than half a century. 

A desk and bookcase made of curled maple appears on 
page 541. This is an old family piece, and is now the 
property of Mr. Charles S. Fairchild of New York. It is 
a good specimen of native work and was made about 1 8 1 2 . 
Another variety of desk faces page 550. This belonged t; 

536 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Daniel Webster and is now in the collection of the Wayside 
Inn, Sudbury, Mass, and is owned by Mr. E. R. Lemon. 
It is of mahogany and satin wood with a narrow inlay of 
satin wood and ebony at the base, representing a cord. 
The ring handles are of simple form. 




DESK AND CHAIR 
Owned b)r Min Aooe Van CortUndt, Croton-on-tbe-Hudion, New York. See below. 



A desk of historical interest is shown on this page. 
De Witt Clinton is said to have died while sitting at it. 
By it stands a chair somewhat similar to those facing page 
II 8. The pattern of this chair is exactly similar to one 
owned by the Worshipful Company of Parrish Clerks in 
London, dating from about 1750. These pieces belong 
to Miss Anne Van Cortlandt, Croton-on-the-Hudson, 
N. Y. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

In addition to the fashionable furniture of the day that 
was imported from England and France, there were always 
additional special importations of objects due to individual 
taste, especially when the revived interest in antiques be- 
gan to be generally felt. Oriental goods came in in a steady 
stream. Among our illustrations of individual importa- 
tions are the carved ebony table facing page 487, that be- 
longed to Houqua, a mandarin of China, and now owned 
by Mrs. Caleb T. Smith, Smithtown, L. I. (see page 416); 
a French chair made of fancy wood trimmed with brass 
and ornamented with porcelain plaques, and upholstered 
in pale blue satin, owned by Mr. Robert Colby, New 
York ; a sofa and chair imported by C. C. Pinckney, and 
owned by Mrs. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charleston, 
S. C. (see page 493) ; a carved Indian chair, a table 
made of South American woods, and a carved ebony mir- 
ror from the Summer Palace, Pekin, now owned by Mr. 
and Mrs. Thomas Small, of Charleston, S. C. (see facing 
page 498). Bronze candelabra appear facing page 500 ; and 
a console table on page 553. The latter was bought in 
London at a sale of the Russian Ambassador's effects, by 
John Hubbard of Boston, grandfather of the present 
owner. 

How well New York kept abreast of European fashions 
in furniture early in the nineteenth century can best be 
shown by the newspaper announcements. In 1802, Chris- 
tian, Cabinet-maker, 73 Broad Street, thanks the public for 
patronage, and says, " the several years of experience he 
has had as a workman in some of the first shops of Europe 
and America, enable him to supply those who may favour 
him with their custom, with furniture of the first taste and 
workmanship.*' 

538 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Two choice articles of furniture come to auction in 
1808: "a set of Pillar-and-claw dining- tables in five re- 
moves made of uncommonly fine San Domingo mahogany, 
with brass castors, springs and fasteners complete ; ' ' and 
" a first-rate pedestal and sideboard on castors made of solid 
mahogany of superior quality." The above articles, the 
advertisement tells us, " were made in this city to a partic- 
ular order,'* and assures us that the mahogany was seasoned 
five years before being made up. 

Among chairs and sofas, we notice : 

" A handsome set of drawing room chairs with a 
suitable sofa and curtains ; fancy and Windsor chairs 
(1802); chairs with rattan bottoms ( 1 806); green Windsor 
and plain and figured (1808) ; conversation, curled maple, 
painted, ornamented, landscape, sewing and rocking chairs 
(1817) ; mahogany with hair sittings ; rosewood and fancy 
painted (1819); reclining, cane and rush seat and fancy 
gilt (1822); bamboo, rocking and sewing; fancy book 
and round front rush and cane seat ; bamboo, round front, 
rosewood ; Grecian back, cane and rush seat, gilt bamboo ; 
hair stuffed, fancy rush and cane seat ; imitation rosewood 
cane seats; elegant mahogany chairs eagle pattern; plain 
with panelled back ; Trafalgar with landscapes (1823) ; 
mahogany covered with rich crimson satin damask ; square 
and round front fancy gilt, fancy chairs richly gilt with real 
gold and bronze; white and gold cane seats (1824) ; rose- 
wood covered with yellow plush (1825) ; yellow bamboo 
(1826); mahogany with plain and figured hair seating 
( 1 826). Grecian sofas, and couches of new and elegant pat- 
terns ( 1 820) ; ten Grecian sofas of warranted workmanship 
(1822); Blair's patent elastic spring sofas (1822); a Grecian 
sofa with scroll ends, a set superb curled maple chairs with 

539 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

cane seats and Grecian posts and settee to match and polished 
on the varnish ; five new pattern couches and sofas (1823); 
sixty pattern spring and hair seat Grecian sofas (1823) ; 
Grecian sofas, some of which are inlaid with rose and satin 
wood ; four plain hair stuffed sofas ; three banded-back and 
scroll-end sofas ; a sofa covered with crimson (1823); six 
scroll-end sofas covered with red damask inlaid with rose- 
wood gilt and bronzed feet ; two crimson do., six hair 
seating, pannel-back and scroll-end sofas ; ten elegant black 
hair seating sofas ; two superb settees with elegant damask 
cushions, pillows, etc., and twelve cane seat white and gold 
chairs to match (1824); Windsor settees; "rosewood sofa 
covered with yellow plush and twelve chairs to match, 
made by order of a Spanish gentleman (1825)." It will 
be noticed that new fashions are now prevailing, especially 
the " Fancy *' and ** Trafalgar " chairs, and the Egyptian 
and Classic forms of the Empire style. These will all be 
described in the following chapter. The tables, beds, bu- 
reaus, bookcases and other articles of furniture occur in 
equally multitudinous varieties, but lack of space forbids 
any attempt at further enumeration. 

Two chairs belonging to a full set imported from 
France, and now in the home of Mr. Charles R. Waters, 
Salem, appear on page 545. The back of each is carved 
in a different pattern, the wood being entirely cut away 
from the figures. 

A handsomely carved sofa owned by Dr. Herman V. 
Mynderse, of Schenectady, N. Y., faces page 510. The 
scroll ends have the form of dolphins, and the feet 
terminate in the lion's claw. This is upholstered in horse- 
hair. 

As we have seen how the South impressed a Northern 

540 




"BANJO CLOCK" 

OwneJ h Mn. tfaimurighi, Hartford, Conn. 
Sti pagt Sjl. 



CLOCK WITH CHERRY CASE 

(HtineJ hy Mr. IValtir Hoimer, WitbirifielJ, Cenn 
Stt pagl JJJ. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




CURLED MAPLE DESK 
; owned by Mr. CKarJei S. PiirchiLd, Kew Vork. See pigc 536. 



traveller at this period, it may be interesting to see how 
the North impressed a Southern visitor. On October 21, 
1789, General Washington writes of Connecticut, in his 
Diary: "There is a great equality in the people of this 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

State. Few or no opulent men — ^and no poor — ^great sim- 
ilitude in their buildings — ^the general fashion of which is 
a Chimney (always of Stone or Brick), and door in the 
middle, with a staircase fronting the latter, running up by 
the side of the latter [former?] — ^two flush stories, with a 
very good show of sash and glass windows — the size gen- 
erally is from 30 to 50 feet in length, and from 20 to 30 
in width, exclusive of a back shed, which seems to be 
added as the family increases/* 

On October 22, he writes from Brookfiield, Mass.: 
" The fashion of the houses are more diversifiied than in 
Connecticut, though many are built in their style." 

On November 3, the note in his Diary is as follows : 
** Portsmouth (N. H.) contains about 5,000 inhabitants. 
There are some good houses (among which Colonel Lang- 
don's may be esteemed the first,) but in general they are 
indiflferent, and almost entirely of wood. On wondering 
at this, as the country is full of stone and good clay for 
bricks, I was told that on account of the fogs and damp, 
they deemed them wholesomer, and for that reason pre- 
ferred wood buildings.'* 

It will be noticed that Washington was struck with 
the general uniformity of pecuniary conditions in the 
North. The luxurious home was, in fact, the exception. 
Many important people in New England rose into promi- 
nence from very modest circumstances. As an example, 
the Hon. Charles Rich, of Vermont (Member of Con- 
gress) began house-keeping in 1 79 1 , possessed of no other 
property than i cow, i pair 2-year old steers, 6 sheep, i 
bed, and a few articles of household furniture, which, all to- 
gether, were valued at $66.00, and about 45 acres of land. 
While " at the mill,*' he wrote, " I constructed a number 

54* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of articles of furniture, which have been in daily use from 
that time, to the present/' He died in 1824. 

At the outbreak of the Revolution, many Bostonians 
shut up their houses and removed their furniture to places 
of safety, as was the case in Philadelphia and elsewhere. 
On August 5, 1775, Abigail Adams writes to John Adams : 
" If alarming half-a-dozen places at the same time is an 
act of generalship, Howe may boast of his late conduct. 
We have never, since the evacuation of Boston, been under 
apprehensions of an invasion equal to what we suffered last 
week. All Boston was in confusion, packing up and cart- 
ing out of town household furniture, military stores, goods, 
etc. Not less than a thousand teams were employed on 
Friday and Saturday ; and, to their shame be it told, not a 
small trunk would they carry under eight dollars ; and 
many of them, I am told, asked a hundred dollars a load ; 
for carting a hogshead of molasses eight miles, thirty dol- 
lars. O, human nature ! or, rather, O, inhuman nature ! 
what art thou ? The report of the fleet's being seen off 
Cape Ann, Friday night, gave me the alarm, and, though 
pretty weak, I set about packing up my things, and on Sat- 
urday moved a load.'* 

Some of the fugitives were fortunate enough to let 
their houses to British officers before affairs became too 
serious. One of these was James Lovell, who in 1775 
writes to Mr. Oliver Wendell, at Salem, as follows : 
" My D' Neighbour : 

" Just after I wrote you last Doct*^ Morris Physician of 
the Army an Elderly Gentleman took the House, and was 
so complaisantly pressing to come in that I work** all night 
from yesterday Noon, and admitted him at 10 this morn- 
ing. He wishes to have the Furniture committed to his 

543 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Care, nay is willing to pay for it, and makes the strongest 
Promises of the extremest Care. I think what I have left 
is better there than carry'd to Jeffries's, my House or the 
Store. I think giving the use a much greater security 
against Abuse than letting, I therefore told Him that I would 
leave as p' Mem****" for the present^ for which he is greatly 
thankful, but that I should attend y' Order respecting all 
or any Part. As to that * He shall be very thankful for 
present use, as it will give opp® to provide if y' Commands 
make it necessary.' 

" Your Desk and Case shall have the same Care as if the 
Papers were his own or I may remove it at my pleasure, 
if free access is too troublesome to me. 

" Monday Voulks was out a- Fishing and I entirely for- 
got Jacob so that my own School Runners performed the 
whole ; and I assure you without breaking 6d. value of 
any sort. I had the House swept from Garret to Cellar. 
. . . I have given the Gentleman an Inventory. He 
promises i o fold Recompense for Damage, appears mightily 
pleased with appearances and the Landlord, prays for you 
to come in upon the present Tenant quitting.'' He con- 
tinues: "I have packed every Thing of China Glass in 
small assorted Packages which are then to be put into 
lock't Chests in my Cellar. I can give you a specimen : 
No. 4. Indian, i Box Cake Pans and illumination molds, 
both reserved for our coming Day of American Jubilee," 

It is refreshing to find a patriot so confident of the suc- 
cess of the American arms as to store Bengal lights for the 
final jubilations. 

The British officers naturally took possession of the 
best quarters they could find, and they were not very care- 
ful in their usage of the household goods of the absent 

544 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

owners. John Hancock complains of this in a letter to 
Captain Smith, November 14, 1781: 

" Inclosed you have the dimensions of the Bed Cham- 
bers for each of which I want Wilton Carpet ; — do let 
them be neat. The British Officers who possessed my 




CHAIRS OF FRENCH MAKE 
le home of Mr. Chula R. Waten, Salem, Mao. Set page ;4o. 



house totally defaced and removed all my carpet and I 
must submit." 

The wars of the Revolution were responsible for enor- 
mous destruction of furniture, but other causes sometimes 
operated also. 

Chief Justice Sewall, writing from Marblehead, Jan- 
uary 27, 1780, says he is literally buried in snow : " You 
cannot conceive how much we are distressed for wood. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The poorer people go begging continually for every stick 
they use, and many of the better sort are under a necessity 
of keeping but one fire ; some I know who have burnt 
chairs, hogsheads, barrels, chests of drawers, etc., etc/' 

Of course, imported English furniture was scarce in 
New England while the fighting lasted. On the conclu- 
sion of the war, however, we are somewhat surprised to 
find that English was not excluded in favour of French 
furniture entirely when the native wares were not consid- 
ered sufficiently fashionable. We have already seen that 
the cabinet-makers in the region between Boston and 
Newburyport made all the furniture in ordinary use there, 
and that they kept modest stocks. Before 1800, however, 
we find much longer lists of goods finished and unfinished 
on hand at the owner's death. One of the richest mem- 
bers of this craft was Samuel Phippen of Salem, who died 
in 1798, leaving an estate of $7,888.77. His inventory 
shows the very varied assortment of wares that were then 
being produced by the native makers, and, therefore, it is 
worth reproducing. 

No. 1 : 48 birch chairs at 80c., a number of chair bows, etc. 
25c., I38.65. 

No. 2. 6 mahogany chairs at |i.io, 24 birch chairs at 80c., 
I25.80; 26 bow back chairs, not painted, at 75c., six dining chairs, 
at 80c., I24.30 ; one round birch chair, 80c. ; 5 common and i 
trundle bedstead, $6.00. 

No. 3 : 2^ plain dining chairs, at 8oc., I28.80; one easy chair, 
|i.oo; one necessary, |i.oo, |2.oo; 2 large birch chairs, at 50c., 
1 1. 00 ; one pine case with drawers. Shop, three unfinished desks, 
I3.00; one birch desk, brassed, I5.00 ; 2 unfinished bedsteads, 
1 1. 00; 2 cot frames, I1.50; maple boards, I5.00 ; 20 chairs, cot 
frames, 4 ordinary bedposts, 1 1 old chairs and several pieces ma- 
hogany, I3. 40. 

546 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Front Store: 2 walnut cases with drawers, $10.00; 2 walnut 
desks, |io.oo; i plain mahogany desk, $6.00; 4 birch desks, 
$16.00; I cedar desk, $7.00; 5 cabin tables, $7.50; i birch table, 
$2.00; I round table, $2.00; 2 breakfast tables, $1.25; i chest, 
$1.00; 10 birch chairs, $11.00; i round table, |i.io; 4 fan back 
chairs, $4.00; 10 bow backed green chairs, |8.oo; 8 green dining 
chairs, $7.20. 

Front Chamber : 3 birch desks, $12.00; 2 birch desks, $12.00; 
4 cedar desks, $28.00; i plain mahogany, $6.00; 3 mahogany 
stands, $2.00; 8 birch stands, $2.50; 2 mahogany stand tables, 
$8.00; 27 birch chairs, $33.75; 4 trundle bedsteads, $3.50. 

Back Store Chamber: 34 bow back chairs, $25.50; i mahog- 
any stand table, $4.00. 

Back Store : 4 swelled mahogany desks, $60.00 ; i mahogany 
table, $6.00; 2 mahogany card tables, $10.00; 3 birch tables, 
$4.00; 2 birch stand tables, $4.00; 14 green bow back chairs, 
$11 .20 ; 24 bow back chairs, not painted, $1 8.00 ; 20 dining chairs, 
$18.00; I blue chair, $.50. 

No. 4 : I bedstead, 3 chests, i table, 5 old chairs, $ 1 6.40. 

No. 5 : I cedar post bedstead, $4.00 ; 1 case with drawers, 
$7.00; I bureau, $4.00; 12 mahogany chairs, at $1.50, $18.00; 2 
birch card tables, $2.50; i small stand, $1.00; i looking glass, 
$3.00. 

No. 6: I swelled mahogany desk, not completed, $18.00; 6 
birch chairs, at $1.25, $7.50; 7 dining chairs, $6.50; i blue chair, 
$1.00 — $7.50. 

No. 7 : I mahogany desk and bookcase, $23.00; i black wal- 
nut case with drawers, $1.25; i mahogany desk without brasses, 
$18.00; 2 tables, $6.00. 

No. 8: 6 birch chairs, $3.00; 2 bedsteads, sacking bottoms, 
$5.00; I cot, sacking bottom, $1.00. 

No. 9 : I desk and bookcase, $15.00; i mahogany side table, 
$1.75; 2 tea trays, $1.00*; i waiter, $.15; 4 arm and 3 dining 
chairs, $2.45. 

No. 10: I clock, $3.00; I maple case with drawers, $1.50 — 
$4.50; I small stand, a table and tea-board, $1.75; i pine table, 

547 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

folding, boards, etc. ; horse to dry clothes, i looking glass, 40c. — 
1 2. 40. 

No. II : Chair bows, etc., 1 24.7 5. 

The merchant marine of Salem vastly increased after 
the Revolution. In 1786, the Grand Turk was the first 
New England ship to double the Cape for Canton, and in 
1790 the Astrea was the first to bring home a cargo of tea 
in an American bottom. In 1805, Salem had forty-eight 
vessels that rounded the Cape. After the war of 1812, 
forty-two Indiamen had sailed, and sixteen returned by 
1 8 1 6. In 1 8 1 7, there were fifty-three ; and in 1 8 2 1 , fifty- 
eight ships of that port in the India trade. There were, 
therefore, many wealthy Salem merchants. 

One of the richest at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century was Mr. Elias H. Derby, who left an estate of 
about $200,000 in 1805. His possessions will give an idea 
of a luxurious home of that period. 

Gaining admission by the Lower Entry, the visitor 
found himself in a commodious hall furnished with a din- 
ing and a breakfast table, nine chairs covered with hair- 
cloth and a child's chair. Two strips of carpeting, and a 
"door-carpet" were on the floor, and six pictures on the 
walls. In a small closet were some cutlery, china and glass. 
This was lighted by a large entry lamp, worth thirty-five 
dollars, and communicated with four rooms. 

The principal objects in the Oval room were fifteen 
chairs, two large dining tables, a floor-cloth and a pair of 
girandoles. Another room contained a mahogany table 
with spare leaves, another small mahogany table, an arm- 
chair covered with horsehair, other chairs and a pair of 
large looking-glasses. Six gilded cornices with cords, gave 

548 




< s 

c ^ 



I 



•• •- 






_ • • • * 

• ••••• • 

* • • • 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

a finish to the window curtains. A brass fender was in 
front of the fire. Among the ornaments were four Chin- 
ese and three British images ; and the other articles listed 
are two knife-cases, a complete set of Paris china ^valued 
at $230.00) and a plate-warmer, a painted and a tin cooler, 
and a camera obscura. 

The Southeast Parlour was furnished with a large 
mahogany, a Pembroke and a card-table ; a sideboard, gar- 




MAHOGANY SOFA 



nished with two knife-cases containing eight silver spoons, 
two carving knives and forks and eight dozen other knives 
and forks. The floor was covered with a Brussels carpet 
and a " Door Carpet." The fireplace was supplied with 
brass andirons, shovel and tongs, and a hearth-brush and 
pair of bellows. There were eight mahogany chairs worth 
two dollars each, two "lolling" and two Windsor chairs 
with arms. Two crickets, five tea-waiters and one ma- 
hogany stand were also in this room. At the windows 
were five curtains and cornices. A closet contained china 
worth $371.00. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The Northwest Parlour contained two card-tables and 
one stand-table, a settee with horsehair covering, eight 
chairs and two armchairs, a looking-glass and two crick- 
ets. The hearth was garnished with an iron back, brass 
andirons, a shovel and pair of tongs, and a brush and pair 
of bellows. The windows were adorned with four cur- 
tains and cornices ; and the walls with a picture of Mayor 
Pearson, one called T^he Woodman^ and two on copper. A 
Brussels carpet was on the floor. 

Going up the carpeted stairs, the middle North, the 
Northeast, Northwest and Southwest chambers were 
reached. The former was used as a store-room, contain- 
ing two bed-chairs, a bed-carpet, two boxes of glass, one 
of door-locks, and " Entry- Wilton carpet," a case of bot- 
tles, a box of composition ornaments, a leather portmanteau, 
a small tea-chest and caddy. The Southwest Chamber con- 
tained a four-post bedstead with bedding and furnishings, 
nine chairs, a chest of drawers, a table, and a looking-glass. 
The hearth was supplied with shovel, tongs, andirons and 
a pair of bellows ; and the floor with a Scotch carpet. 

The Northwest Chamber had a mahogany commode, 
a washhand-stand and basin, a dressing-glass, a looking- 
glass, mahogany chairs and one easy-chair. Five pictures 
were on the walls, and three white china flower-pots were 
additional ornaments. The windows were shaded by four 
white cotton curtains ; and on the hearth were brass and- 
irons, shovel, tongs and hearth-brush. The floor was 
covered with a Brussels carpet. The most valuable object 
in the room was the handsome mahogany four-post bed- 
stead ($130.00), with curtains and bedding. Two rose 
blankets, one flannel blanket, a damask tablecloth and eigh- 
teen napkins were kept in this room. 

550 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The furniture of the Northeast Chamber comprised a 
four-post mahogany bedstead with its furnishings, a bu- 
reau, a chest of drawers, a washhand-stand, a trunk, six 
chamber and two rocking-chairs. Besides a kidderminster, 
there was also a bedside carpet. The fireplace had an 
iron back, a fine brass fender, and steel shovel and tongs. 

The Southeast Chamber contained a fine four-post 
bedstead with green curtain^ and bedding ($133.00), two 
green chairs, and eight mahogany chairs with silk bot- 
toms, a valuable easy-chair and covering, a bureau, a chest- 
upon-chest of drawers, a stand-table and an expensive look- 
ing-glass. Other objects that added to the comfort and 
elegance of this apartment were a Brussels carpet, two 
crickets, two flower-pots, brass andirons, bellows and steel 
shovel, tongs and fender. Closets to this chamber con- 
tained an oval looking-glass, two trunks containing flannel 
and rose blankets, a bedstead and bedding, a glass lamp, 
two bottle-stands, sixteen labels for decanters, and silver plate 
to the value of $1,195.54. 

In the Southwest Upper Chamber was a curtained bed 
with bedding. 

The Northeast Upper Chamber contained two bed- 
steads and bedding of moderate value, two small carpets, a 
looking-glass, a desk and bookcase, a table, a washhand- 
stand and six chairs covered with haircloth. 

The Northwest Upper Chamber had its floor covered 
with a Wilton carpet and two strips of the same. Eight 
pictures hung on the walls, and brass andirons were on the 
hearth. The other movables comprised a looking-glass, a 
dressing-glass, a washhand-stand basin and bottle, a bureau, 
six chairs with covers and one curtained mahogany bedstead 
and bedding. 

S5« 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The Middle South Chamber contained a round tea- 
table, a chamber table and drawers, a basket, a dressing- 
glass, a looking-glass, four chairs covered with hair-cloth, a 
bedstead with bedding and a bedside carpet. 

The Southwest Upper Chamber had six green Windsor 
chairs, two semicircular tables, bedding and coverings, two 
mahogany bookcases containing about 770 volumes, four 
trunks, eight pictures, two globes, and steel tongs and shovel. 

In the Lantern and Garret were various articles, in- 
cluding a telescope, spinning-wheel, trunk, box of marble, 
two picture-frames, a table, set of china, three Venetian 
window blinds, and two mahogany bird-cages. 

Over the Lower Entry was the Chamber Entry. This 
was furnished with six chamber chairs, two armchairs, and 
an eight-day clock. Two " Door-carpets " and thirty-one 
yards of " entry and stair-carpeting '' covered floor and 
stairs. The walls were adorned with twelve pictures. A 
trunk and a Sedan-chair were also kept here. A closet 
also contained some plated ware. 

In the Upper Entry was a trunk containing a lot of 
household stuff, including eight counterpanes, a suit of six 
damask window curtains (valued at $200.00), ditto purple 
and white, ditto blue and white, two red and white sofa 
coverings, eight yellow chair-bottom covers, six patch ditto, 
eight white Marseilles ditto. Two bundles of bed-trim- 
mings, one suit of harrateen bed curtains, twenty-four 
yards of stair carpet for the upper story, and one old Wil- 
ton carpet completed the list. 

The Eastern Entry was used as a kind of study ; it 
contained a desk and bookcase with ninety-nine miscella- 
neous volumes and a Bible, two chairs, a wire fire-fender, 
and an "entry carpet." 

55* 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The kitchen was furnished, among other objects, with 
six Windsor chairs, two folding-tables, and a mahogany case. 
There were two cellars well stored, one being stocked 
with Cape, Constantia, Madeira and Catalonia wine. 




CONSOLE TABLE 
Owned b]t Mr. Robert A. Bolt, Btwtan, Min. See pige 5]S. 

It will be noticed that Mr. Derby owned a " settee 
with horsehair covering," and that many of his chairs were 
also upholstered in this material. A sofa or a settee of a 
kind that might have been among his furniture appears on 
page 549. The frame is of mahogany, and the scroll 
arms rest upon carved pineapples. The covering is black 
horsehair. This soia belonged to the Rev. Ezra Ripley 
( ' 777"^ ^4 ^ ) ^^^ ^^^ afterwards owned by Nathaniel 
Hawthorne. It is now in the rooms of the Concord An- 
tiquariaQ Society, Concord, Mass. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The wealth and luxury of the citizens of Salem became 
the talk of the world, in 1 8 1 7, by the cruise of Cleopatra! s 
BargCy which is said to have been the first private yacht 
ever owned by an American, and which in luxurious ap- 
pointments remained unsurpassed till a comparatively recent 
date. This boat was of 200 tons burden, and was built 
and commanded by Captain George Crowninshield, who 
in partnership with his brothers had amassed a large for- 
tune during the war of 1 8 1 2 by the successful cruise of 
their privateer, the America. He sailed from Salem in 
March, 18 17, intending to go round the world. After 
touching at Fayal, he visited the chief Spanish and Italian 
ports, attracting a great deal of attention, and entertaining 
and being entertained by many European notabilities. His 
sole travelling companion, to whom he was greatly attached, 
fell ill at Malta ; he therefore immediately sailed for home, 
and arrived at Salem in November. There his friend suc- 
cumbed, and Captain George died of the shock fifteen 
minutes later. 

The fame of Cleopatra* s Barge filled all the newspapers 
of the day ; and everybody was talking of her unparalleled 
richness and elegance. The Salem Gazette of January 1 4, 
1 8 1 7, contains a notice of the yacht, from which the fol- 
lowing is taken : 

" You descend into a magnificent saloon about 20 feet 
long and 1 9 broad, finished on all sides with polished ma- 
hogany, inlaid with other ornamental wood. The settees 
of the saloon are of splendid workmanship ; the backs are 
shaped like the ancient lyre, and the seats are covered with 
crimson silk-velvet, bordered with a very wide edging of 
gold lace. Two splendid mirrors, standing at either end, 
and a magnificent chandelier, suspended in the centre of 

554 




CABINET 

Carvtd hy Mr. Jehu Lerd Hayfi; atoned tf Mils Hayts, CambriJgi, Mass. Sii pagt j^6- 



I 



I 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the saloon, give a richness of effect to it, not easily sur- 
passed/' 

Other accounts supply the following additional details: 
"The chandelier cost 1 150.00. The sofas in the cabin 
were of mahogany and bird's-eye maple, and measured 
eleven feet in length. The lyres forming the back were 
strung with thick brass wire. The cost of these sofas 
amounted to I400.00. The beams of the ceiling in the 
saloon were edged with gold beading ; for the greater safety 
of the passengers when the yacht rolled, two ropes were 
strung along the walls : these were covered with red silk 
velvet twisted with gold cord. A luxurious Brussels car- 
pet was on the floor : the colours were orange and brown 
mixed with green. 

" On either side of the gilt-framed mirrors was a lamp 
and a gilded eagle. In the walls, columns with gilded 
capitals alternated with cupboards, through the glass doors 
of which gleamed costly china. Captain George took 
great pains in arranging this to the best advantage ; and 
also took great pride in his table-linen, glass, and rich 
silver plate. The latter included a splendid tea-urn, from 
twelve to fifteen inches in height, with a lamp underneath ; 
and a thick sugar-bowl and cream-jug to match. The 
bedroom was also luxuriously appointed ; the bed had rich 
variegated yellow hangings, full curtains and handsome 
fringe." Among the furniture of this yacht were three 
chairs, now owned by Mrs. Edward C. Pickering, of the 
Observatory, Cambridge, Mass., having descended to her 
through the Crowninshield family. One of these appears 
on page ^^y, it is of the variety known as the "Fancy 
Chair,** with painted back, rush-bottom and gilded ball 
ornaments. 

555 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

We have seen that cabinet-making was sometimes the 
occupation of amateurs, and we have drawn a little atten- 
tion to carvers that came here from abroad. A very fine 
example of amateur modern carving faces page 554. This 
is the work of Mr. John Lord Hayes, L.L. D., of Cam- 
bridge, Mass., whose house is filled with other productions 
of his that are equally remarkable, including mantel-pieces, 
chairs, frames for mirrors, etc. Mr. Hayes merely carved 
for pastime and slightingly alluded to it as his " knitting- 
work." These articles are now owned by his sons and 
daughters, in Cambridge, Mass. 

We have already seen that Philadelphia had many opu- 
lent citizens whose houses were furnished in accordance 
with the dictates of Fashion long before the Revolution. 
Du Simitiere gives a list of eighty-four families that kept 
equipages in 1772. There was quite a local aristocracy in 
which the Shippens, Willings and Binghams were promi- 
nent. When the city was occupied by the British, many of 
the citizens departed with their effects, while others stayed 
behind and entered into the gaieties of the British and 
German officers. The most famous festival of the period 
was an entertainment given in 1778 by his officers to Lord 
Howe on his retiring from command. This has left some- 
what sombre memories by the fact that one of the princi- 
pal invited belles, Miss Margaret Shippen, afterwards mar- 
ried Benedict Arnold ; and that Major Andre had charge 
of the decorations and ornaments. This Tory pageant and 
ball was a strange medley called The Mtschtanza^ and took 
place at the Wharton House. There were Ladies of the 
Blended Rose and Ladies of the Burning Mountain, all 
with attendant Knights. Andr6 wrote a description of it 
for the Genttemen's Magazine (1778). A short account of 

556 



• • • • 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

this entertainment may be quoted from a contemporary de- 
scription, as it will serve as a picture of gala decorations 
during the Revolution. 




" FANCY CHAtR, FROM " CLEOPATRA S BARGE 
Now owned bif Mn. Edward C. I^ckning, ObKmCoTy, Cimbridge, Man. S« page 555. 

" Upon the opening of two folding doors, we entered 
a large Hall, in length about thirty, in breadth twenty feet, 
elegantly illuminated with spermaceti. The floor was cov- 
ered with green baize. On each side of the Hall were 
long tables with benches, covered also with green baize. 
Each of these tables was set off with a service of elegant 
china, and tea, coffee, and various kinds of cakes. The ceil- 
ings and sides of the Hall were adorned with paintings. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ahd on each side were two large rooms ornamented in like 
manner. Over each chimney was painted a large cornu- 
copia full of flowers ; and over each door an empty cornu- 
copia inverted. As soon as tea and coflFee were over, the 
knights, dulcineas, and most of the company went up stairs 
into a large entry elegantly painted, in which hung many 
mirrors, whose frames were covered with silk entwined 
and decorated with bows, roses, etc. Between each of these 
mirrors were three spermaceti candles in sconces, adorned 
with gauze, silk, etc. The rooms on each side of the entry 
were ornamented in the same manner. Over the staircase 
was an orchestra, in which was a band of music. When 
the company was come up, the dulcineas danced first with 
the knights, and then with the squires ; and after them the 
rest of the company danced. In several of the rooms were 
tables with punch, sangaree, wine, cakes, etc. At half 
after ten o*clock, the windows were thrown open, and 
an elegant firework was exhibited. Towards the con- 
clusion the triumphal arch, next to the house, appeared 
magnificently illuminated, and Fame blew from her 
trumpet in letters of light, these words : " Tes Lauriers 
sont immortehy 

"After the firework the company returned, some to danc- 
ing, and others to a faro bank, which was opened by three 
German officers in one of the parlours. The company con- 
tinued dancing and playing till twelve o'clock, when we 
were called to supper, and two folding doors at the end of 
the Hall being thrown open, we entered a room 200 feet 
long. The floor was covered with painted canvas ; the 
roof and sides hung with paintings and ornamented with 
fifty large mirrors. From the roof hung twelve lustres, 
with twenty spermaceti candles in each. In this room 

558 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




MAHOGANY AND GILT 

MIRROR 

UKd It Che fete of the Mil. 



two tables reached from one end to the 
other. On each side were recesses with 
sideboards in which were all kinds of 
liquors. On the two tables were fifty 
large elegant pyramids, with jellies, 
syllabubs, cakes and sweetmeats. The 
supper was entirely cold, except several 
tureens of soup; and consisted of chick- 
ens. Iamb, buttered ham, Yorkshire 
pies, veal, variously prepared, puddings, 
etc. Twenty-four negro men attended 
the tables in white shirts with blue silk 
sashes, silk turbans, tin collars and 
bracelets. The company that sat down 
to supper were four hundred." 

The mirror shown on this page was 

one of those mentioned above. It is of 

mahogany with ornaments carved and 

gilt. The illustration gives no idea of its size, which is 

7% by 3 feet. 

One of the finest homes in Philadelphia was that of 
Robert Morris, the financier of the Revolution. The 
Prince de Broglie's narrative (1782) says: " M. de la Lu- 
zerne conducted me to the house of Mrs, Morris to take 
tea. She is the wife of the Financier of the United States. 
The house is simple, but neat and proper. The doors and 
tables are of superb mahogany, and polished. The locks 
and trimmings are of brass, charmingly bright. The porce- 
lain cups were arranged with great precision. The mis- 
tress of the house had an agreeable expression, and was 
dressed entirely in white. I got some excellent tea, and I 
think that I should still be drinking it, if the ambassador 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

had not charitably warned me, when I had taken the 
twelfth cup, that I must put my spoon across my cup when- 
ever I wanted this species of torture by hot water to stop, 
since, said he to me, * It is almost as bad manners to refuse 
a cup of tea when it is offered to you, as it would be in- 
discreet for the mistress of the house to offer you more 
when the ceremony of the spoon has shown what your 
wishes are in this matter/ ** 

The Marquis de Chastellux also says that his house is 
" handsome, resembling perfectly the houses of London. 
He lives there without ostentation, but not without ex- 
pense ; for he spares nothing which can contribute to his 
happiness and that of Mrs. Morris, to whom he is much 
attached." The translator adds : " The house the Marquis 
speaks of, in which Mr. Morris lives, belonged formerly to 
Mr. Richard Penn. The Financier has made great additions 
to it, and is the first who has introduced the luxury of hot- 
houses and ice-houses on the continent. He has likewise 
purchased the elegant country-house formerly occupied by 
the traitor Arnold ; nor is his luxury to be outdone by any 
commercial voluptuary of London." 

Mr. Lowell, of Boston, and H. G. Otis visited Morris 
in 1783. Otis records in his description that they "dined 
with thirty persons in a style of voluptuous magnificence 
which I have never seen equalled.'* 

Manasseh Cutler mentions Morris's country-seat. The 
Hillsy on the Schuylkill, in 1787. It was unfinished then, 
although Morris bought it in 1770. Later it was named 
Lemon Hill. During the Revolution, he lived on Front 
Street ; and, in 1785, bought some property on High Street 
with the ruins of the Penn house, which he rebuilt. This 
was considered the handsomest house in Philadelphia. It 

560 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

was of brick and three stories high. When the Govern- 
ment removed to Philadelphia, he gave up the house. 
The city made it the official residence, and hefe Washing- 
ton lived. (See page 512.) In 1791, Morris lived on the 




SECRETARY 



corner of Sixth and Market Streets. In 1795, he bought 
a square bounded by Chestnut, Walnut, Seventh and Eighth 
Streets for _;^io,ooo, and charged Major L'Enfant to build 
him a mansion. This was begun in 1795, and continued 
to 1800. It was never finished. This was known as 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

" Morrises Folly/* and was built of brick with window and 
door ornamentations of pale blue stone. Morris's luxury 
excited much criticism; in 1796, Callender wrote: "A 
person is just now building, at an enormous expense, a pal- 
ace in Philadelphia. His bills hav.e long been in the mar- 
ket at eighteen pence or a shilling per pound. This is the 
condition of our laws for the recovery of millions. At 
the same time the prison at Philadelphia is crowded 
with tenants, many of whom are indebted only in petty 
sums." 

Morris died in 1806. Facing page 458 and page 472 
are shown two specimens of furniture that belonged to 
him, and it will be noticed that these are of styles that had 
not long been in fashion. 

Another very wealthy Philadelphian was William Bing- 
ham, who was senator from Pennsylvania. Mrs. Bingham 
was famous for her beauty, her influence and the elegance 
of her honie. About 1784, Mr. and Mrs. Bingham went 
to Europe. She was presented at the Court of Louis XVI., 
went to The Hague, and attracted attention at the Court of 
George HI. They remained five years in Europe, and 
studied the dwellings in London and Paris to find a model 
for their Philadelphia home. They chose the house of 
the Duke of Manchester. Their home, on Third Street, 
above Spruce, was considered superb. Open ironwork 
gates guarded the carriage-way and the garden of three 
acres was enclosed behind a low wall. The hall was noted 
for its broad marble stairway. Much of the furniture, in- 
cluding the carpets, was made in France. 

Wanzey gives the following description in 1 794 : 

" I dined this day with Mr. Bingham, to whom I had 
a letter of introduction. I found a magnificent house and 

562 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

gardens in the best English taste, with elegant and even 
superb furniture. The chairs of the drawing-room were 
from Seddon's in London, of the newest taste; the back in 
the form of a lyre, with festoons of crimson and yellow silk. 




MAHOGANY CHAIR 
From the Library of Nipoleon I., at Malmiijon ; given by Louii Philippe to the Marquii de Mii- 
ignr, New Orluni, Li. See page 5*7-8- 

The curtains of the room a festoon of the same. The 
carpet one of Moore's most expensive patterns. 

"The room was papered in the French taste, after the 
style of the Vatican at Rome. In the garden was a pro- 
fusion of lemon, orange and citron trees; and many aloes 
and other exotics." 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Mr. Bingham's ways did not accord with the ideas of 
Republican simplicity that were in favour with so many of 
his countrymen. To some of his guests, the ceremony ob- 
served at his receptions was even more objectionable than 
his display of wealth. Breck complains : 

" The forms at his house were not suited to our man- 
ners. I was often at his parties, at which each guest was 
announced ; first, at the entrance-door his name was called 
aloud, and taken up by a servant on the stairs, who passed 
it on to the man-in- waiting at the drawing-room door. In 
this drawing-room the furniture was superb Gobelin, and 
the folding-doors were covered with mirrors, which re- 
flected the figures of the company, so as to deceive an un- 
travelled countryman, who, having been paraded up the 
marble stairway amid the echoes of his name — ofttimes 
made very ridiculous by the manner in which the servants 
pronounced it — would enter the brilliant apartment and 
salute the looking-glasses instead of the master and mistress 
of the house and their guests." 

Philadelphia was especially happy in having citizens 
who could help the government financially in critical 
times. Examples of the furniture of Stephen Girard, who 
rendered such valuable services during the war of 1 8 1 2, 
have already been given on page 454 and page 529. Two 
other specimens of his possessions face page 556. The 
table top is painted with brilliant colours; the chair is 
mahogany, of about 1780. 

Joseph Bonaparte settled in Philadelphia about 1815, 
and after having lived in the city and at Lansdownej the 
home of the Binghams, he bought eighteen hundred acres 
on the Delaware River, near Bordentown, N. J. Here he 
built a magnificent house, known as Point Breeze^ where he 

564 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

dwelt for fourteen years. The house was brick covered 
with white plaster, and had a long sloping roof with high 
dormer windows and broad doorways flanked by wooden 
columns. The interior was beautifully adorned with deli- 
cately sculptured marble mantel-pieces, rich tapestries, rare 




EMPIRE CHAIR 
Owned by Piaident Munroe j now by Min EGiabeth Bjrrd NichoUi, Wuhington, D. C See page 568. 

furniture and valuable paintings, some of which had been 
given to Joseph by Cardinal Fcsch. The grounds were 
laid out by landscape gardeners brought from Europe. 

We can gain a glimpse of this handsome estate and of 
its host from Levasseur's Lafayette in America : 

" Gen. Lafayette went in a carriage with the governor 
and one of his aids without escort or parade to Borden- 
565 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

town, the residence of Joseph Bonaparte. The Ex-King 
appeared much affected by the visit of the nation's guest. 
He detained us to dinner, and introduced us to his family. 
Before dinner was served, Joseph withdrew in company 
with Lafayette to his cabinet, and remained there for more 
than an hour. After dinner, of which Madame de Musig- 
nano did the honours with much amiableness, we found the 
gardens and yards crowded with the inhabitants of the vi- 
cinity, who brought their children to receive the benedic- 
tion of the patriarch of liberty. Joseph himself with 
eagerness ordered the doors to be thrown open, and in an 
instant the apartments were filled by the enthusiastic mul- 
titude. It was a truly striking picture to behold these 
good American villagers under the rich ceilings of such a 
mansion. Although their eyes were unaccustomed to all 
the splendours of a regal establishment, they stopped not 
to dwell upon the beautiful productions of the French and 
Italian schools, nor upon the bronzes and exquisite statuary 
of which these apartments are adorned with elegant profus- 
ion; it was Lafayette alone that they wished to see, and 
after having seen him, they retired satisfied and as if inca- 
pable of noticing anything else. 

"*Time flew rapidly during this visit, and the Governor 
of New Jersey was obliged to remind the general that we 
had only time enough to reach Trenton before night. We 
immediately set out. Joseph and his family wished to ac- 
company the General a part of the way ; we divided the 
carriages which were prepared for us and slowly traversed 
the large and beautiful property, the peaceful possession of 
which appeared to me far preferable to that of the troub- 
led Kingdom of Spain." 

The handsome Empire console table facing page 548 

566 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

is one of a pair that were in Joseph Bonaparte's house that 
we have just described. These tables were purchased by 
Judge Joseph Hopkinson of Philadelphia, son of Francis 
Hopkinson, the Signer of the Declaration of Independence. 
Judge Hopkinson was for many years a confidential friend 
of Bonaparte's and managed his estates for him whenever 
he was absent from America. He presented Judge Hop- 
kinson with a valuable painting of still life by Snyders that 
hangs over this -table. The candelabra on the table be- 
longed also to Bonaparte. These relics are now the prop- 
erty of Mr. Oliver Hopkinson of Philadelphia, who also 
owns the articles that face page 560. The gray marble 
table was a present from Caroline Bonaparte to Judge 
Joseph Hopkinson, and the superb set of plum-coloured and 
gold Sevres standing upon it belonged to Joseph Bonaparte. 
The chair to the left of the table is of the form known 
as " the Trafalgar." The back is beautifully inlaid with 
brass. The chair on the right is of a style belonging to 
about 1825. Another piece of furniture associated with 
Joseph Bonaparte appears on page 529. 

The handsome mahogany secretary on page 561, is a 
Philadelphia piece adorned with brass escutcheons and the 
figure of an eagle and burning torches of brass. This be- 
longed to Judge Joel Jones of Philadelphia, and is now 
owned by his son, the Rev. John Sparhawk Jones of that 
city. 

An example of a heavy and unattractive chair appears 
on page 563. It came from the library of Napoleon I. at 
Malmatson and was given by Louis Philippe to the Mar- 
quis de Marigny of New Orleans. It will be observed that 
the old jar-shaped splat, but very ugly in form, reappears 
beneath the slightly curved and cumbrous top-rail. This 

567 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

model, which is of mahogany, survived many years, and 
similar examples, therefore, exist in large numbers. 

A better style occurs on page 565. This was one of a 
set consisting of two so^, twelve chairs, and two ottomans. 
These were brought to this country by President Monroe 
from Paris. The wood was hard yellow picked out with 
gold, and the female figure and the scrollwork were 
bronze. The covering was sky blue satin with yellow 
cording around the cushions. This chair, now belonging 
to Miss Elizabeth Byrd Nicholas of Washington, D, C, 
was purchased by Judge Philip Norbonne Nicholas of 
Richmond, Va., from Mr. Monroe in Virginia after Mr. 
Monroe's return from Paris, where he used the set. The 
characteristics of Empire fiirniture will be described in the 
next chapter. 




THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR ^^it 

FOREjFATHERS 



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THE FURNITURE 

OF OUR 

FOREFATHERS 



By ESTHER SINGLETON 

WITH CRITICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF PLATES 
By RUSSELL STURGIS 




COPYRIGHT, 1 90 1, BT 

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO. 

NOVEMBER, J901 



CONTENTS 



579-580 
5« 1-582 



Styles of the Early Nineteenth Century 571—578 

Changes effected by the French Revolution, 57 1 ; origin of the 
Empire style, 572-3; Grecian models, 573-4; decorations 
and draperies, 574— 51 the Gothic style, 575-6; decorations 
and draperies, 578. 

Gothic Designs in Oak and Mahogany 

Contemporary Examples . 

Pianos ....... 582-585 

Examples made by Astor and Loud, 582; definition of the 
spinet and the virginal, 582; the harpsichord, 582-4; popu- 
larity and improvements of the pianofone, 584—5. 

Woods Used in Cabinet-Making . . 585-600 

Interior woodwork, 585-6; woods used by carvers and cabi- 
net-makers, 586-7; European and exotic woods, 587—9; 
ebony, 589-9O} story of the introduction of maht^ny, 
591-2; fame of Spanish wares, 592; examples of Spanish 
work, 592—3 ; quotation from a Spanish book establishing the 
age of mahogany, 593 ; use of mahogany by the Dutch, Eng- 
lish and French, 594; descriptions of mahogany, 594-6; 
Chippendale's indifference to mahogany, the use of mahog- 
any by Adam and Heppelwhite, and Sheraton on maht^ny, 
596; the Regent's cabinet-maker on woods, 597; importa- 
tion and sales of mahogany in the United States, 597-8 ; native 
woods, 599-600. 

American Cabinet-Makers . . . 601-605 

Boston cabinet-makers, 6oi-2; Baltimore cabinet-makers, 
chair-makers and upholsterers, 602-3 ; Charleston cabinet- 
makers, 604 ; New York cabinet-makers, chair-makers and 
upholsterers, 604-5. 



CONTENTS 

An Englishman on American Cabinet-Work 

606-610 
Price of woods, 606 ; cut glass ornaments 606 ; cabinet- 
shops and chair-ma Icing, 609. 

Philadelphia Cabinet-Makers . . 612-613 

The Cabinet-Maker's Book of Prices . 613-621 
Sham Antique Furniture . . 623-626 

Tricks of the trade, 623-4 ; necessary study Tor the amateur 
collector, 624—6. 

Names of Great Cabinet-Makers Generic 627-628 

Prolific use of designs by contemporaries, 627 ; Sheraton's de- 
tails of construction, 628. 

Importance of Upholstery . . . 628—631 

Furniture dependent upon draperies for effect, 628-9 > ^'^- 
culties of cutting out and festooning, 629-31, 

Materials Used for Upholstery . 631-637 

The Chair ...... 637-641 

Materials used for upholstery, 637; Chippendale's instruc- 
tions for covering his chairs, and their dimensions, 63Si 
proportions of Heppelwhite's chairs and their correct covcr- 
i"gs> 638-9; Sheraton's chairs, 639} the "Fancy Chair" 
and its makers, 640-1 ; the "Trafalgar Chair," 641—2. 

The Heppelwhite Sofa and Window Stool 642—644 

The Sheraton Sofa ..... 644 

The Bed ....... 645-654 

Materials used for draperies, 645—6; Chippendale's Beds, 
646-7 i the Field-bed, 647-8 ; Heppelwhite's Beds, 648-50 ; 
Sheraton's Beds, 650-2 ; the Empire Bed and the "English 
Bed," 652-3; the "French Bed," 653-4. 

Examples of Contemporary Furniture . 654-655 





List of Illustrations 



WITH CRITICAL 
THE PLATES BV 



JOTES ON MANV OF 
RUSSELL STURGIS 



Frontispiece Settee 



. FACING 111 



Tbc Kllcc, at d. 



(icing pJga 414 and 438. Th 
Thr side nib irc curved. 19 is il 
The two Iplau jtc rcminiscEnt 
wmlling band gractfiilly Iwiited, 



IS 3 fivouiite deiign or the Chippendale Khool. The 
!>', — bold, masuve and handnme. It it the produci of 
irorked in the Chippendale Khool. The uttre rem on 
c end In volutcB instead of the ball-and-c^aw, ai do thoie 
amu ate carved and ate raiwd to acomforoble height. 
I the top, which ii omamenled with rosettu and leaves, 
r 1 somewhat bulky Chinoe jar, but ate lightened b;r a 
iialed Ritther with a cold and roKtIes. The 



Et f^ten. 



n of flowers ai 



Porcelain Cabinet 



. FACING 571 

shallow catiinet adomed with relatively large plwgua of painKd porcelain with the mount- 
jQff and frama of the paneli and the large colonnertes which form the uprights probably 
in poicelain also, for such iccetsoric! were often nude in the eighteenth century by 
firing and painting imall cylindera and ringi adomrd with relief omamenO and then mount- 
jng them upon a stout iron rod like beads upon a string to that the appearance of a columrt 
of solid poiCFlaio was not badl> rrndeted. This piece in dark wood and with all its fittingi 
ind mountings of painted cenmic ware of fiae quality ii of necaoty a nun eiiective utd 
bnlliint piece. The painted decoratJoD Kerm to be monochromatic. R. Sturgii. 



Empire Sofa 

This sofa, upholstered in 



■ of viri 



I of fine ! 



The I 



573 



ncularly handsome, noobly the dolphin which follows gracefully the 
outline Dl tne icrollea ends. In one of Sheraton's pbtes in his CaUntl Dicdonary (Lon- 
don, 1 803 ) he makes use of the dolphin in almcit this identical manner. The dolphin is 
oFvery Irequent occurrence during the Louis Seize period. It was regarded by the ancjents 
Mthe king of liihes and is the symbol of maritime supremacy. The dolphin is used In ex- 
actly the same way on a sofi facing page 51a, but here it i> boldly carved. Dolphins lira 
occur on the nunor being page 500. £. S. 



Louis XVI. Vitrine 



facing 575 



Bookcase in which the free use of gilded metal uscj in contrast with smooth and pol- 
IsheiJ daik wood is the only motive of adornment. Beyond that the letere simplicity of 
the parti is what makes the piece attractive. Nor is such a comlnnatian of rather bril- 
liant colour with a simple general deiign at all inadequate for the puTpotc. The [Hece it 
of the refined and constrained chaiacter of design which came to America direct from 
France in the <tiyi of the active tympatliy taken by the Froich in our En^iih coknuei. 
R. Stiuti*. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGS 

Lady's Escritoire .... facing 576 

Cabinet standing upon a table. A very smail piece of extreme delicacj and refinement of 
design, the whole of dark wood inlaid minutely with metal and fitted with metal mountings 
of probably gilt bronze. The piece is of that transition period at the beginning of the 
Style Louis Sasu, when the artists were still a little afraid of the severe straight lines 
which later were altogether approved and uniformly adopted. Here are the table legs of 
double curvature characteristic of the Style Louis Sluin%ey but the delicacy of the parts is 
of the new reign, and the firank adoption of the surface adornment in delicate spots of 
metal on the dark grotmd is the beginning of that wonderful system of marquetry which 
was to make the last work of the old dispensation m France so effective. R. Sturgis. 

Louis XVL Writing-Desk .... 577 

Writing-table with small bookcase above. This is an admirable piece, probably of French 
make, gracefiiUy proportioned and beautifully wrought, and adorned in a limit»i way with 
lines of brass inlaid in the surfiice of the wood. R. Sturgis. 

Carved Oak Chair ...... 579 

Armchair with heavily carved frame. This piece is notable as shovdng in a very unusual 
way what it was that the revivers of elaborately carved furniture, in the yean 1830-50 
were trying to produce. The result of their work was disastrous — the most complete de- 
cadence possible to imagine; and this influence filled the houses of England and the United 
States with an ugly lot of heavily wrought pieces in walnut and oak. At one time it was 
almost impossible to get furniture of any pretence which was not marr»l by this exagger- 
ated style of decoration. In these pieces, however, there is something of the seventeenth 
century lagour retained or revived. The projecting heads forming the ends of the arms are 
especially noticeable. R. Sturgis. 

Upright Piano ....... 583 

upright piano of the type established in the early days of that instrument — the second or 
third decade of the nineteenth century. The design of such a piece b, of course, akin to 
that of a cabinet, the weakness of the piano design being in this: that the front is never 
to open and yet must allow sound to be transmitted freely. From these conditions arises 
the filling of the great panel with silk arranged in an upholsterer^s fashion, which is al- 
most hopeless as a matter of effective design. The piece in question is well managed as re- 
gards its woodwork, in the awkward Georgian style, but still made decorative with some 
delicate inlay and very good wrought mouldings surrounding and holding each paneL R. 
Sturgis. 

Card Tables ...... facing 584 

Two card tables, apparendy a pair, with predsely the same adornment in each. One is 
shown open, and one shut, the adornment by a slight inlay in light material on the dark 
ground is of such a character as to indicate a later epoch than those which in this Part have 
been noted as having a decoration by means of inlay. This table might be of 1830 rather 
than of an earlier epoch. R. Sturgis. 

Piano ..... . . 585 

Piano of a very early type, one in which the extremely nmple form common to the sfnnet 
and harpsichord, and which have been commented upon in notes to illustrations in Piut VII., 
is continued in the newer and more elaborate instrument of munc. In the present case 
there is a delicate ornamentation of straight lines of inlay on the legs as well as on the 
body, and the top* of each leg is marked by an oval plaquette. R. Sturgb. 

Carved Chair from Bombay and Carved Teak- 
Wood Stand ..... 587 

The carved chair resting upon ux feet has a circular cane seat and a semi-circular back in 
which are three panels pierced and carved m leaf designs. The wood is rich reddish brown 

vui 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGB 

in hue. The carved teak-wood stand accompanying it is also a fine specimen. The 
marble slab forming its top is framed by a border inlaid with brass. Some valuable pieces 
of porcelain originally owned by the Emperor of China stand upon it (see text). £. S. 

Carved Oak Cabinet . . . facing 588 

Although this massive and valuable specimen is nearly four square and exceedingly heavy, 
the eye is so charmed with the lightness of the carving and the arrangement of the pan- 
els that one is hardly conscious that it is composed entirely of straight lines. The prickly 
leaf is tastefully and gracefuly entwined, and there is something about the treatment that 
suggests carving in stone. This piece is said to be of the fifteenth century. It stands 
upon the old ball foot, like the Dutch kat or kos (see pages 264-7). ^^ ''^y ^ compared 
with the specimen facing page 238. £. S. 

Old Spanish Cabinet • . . • . 591 

Vargueno ; Spanish work of the seventeenth century — a very interesting piece. These 
cabinets were really made for transportation ; compare what is said of the so-called travel- 
ing chest-of-drawers in former parts of this work. The vargueno when taken apart con- 
sisted of a completely self-contained square-cornered, flat-sided box with two sufficient handles 
and of a wholly separate stand, which of itself could on occasion be separated into three 
parts without much danger of marring the details of the workmanship. The present piece 
is a simple specimen, the little arcades on the interior being partly wrought in the wood 
and partly of turned spindle-like pieces split and applied flat side in to the surface. There 
is little costly decoration, inlay, carving and the like, but the piece is effective in the 
grandiose Spanish way. R. Sturgis. 

Table of Period of Louis XIV. . facing 592 

Table of BouUe work and with many of the characteristics of the best period of that work 
in the later years of the reign of Louis XV. No piece in the large collection which we have 
been passing in review is more strictly a collector's piece — would more strongly attract a 
lover of magnificent furniture — than the present table. Under all its elaborate and even 
fantastical decoration there is a certain severity of general design which keeps the whole 
perfectly together. R. Sturgis. 

Carved Oak Chest ...... 595 

This specimen was imported from Spain. Its legs are somewhat similar to those of the 
chest on page i6i, which is very simple and plain. Three panels in the front are also to 
be noticed upon the latter specimen, upon the chest facing page 178, and in that upon 
page 231, as well as upon the chests-with-drawers facing pages 176, 214, and 226. 
This Spanish chest may be compared with the one facing page 216, which is of the same 
general type ; but the present example is carved on the ends and further enriched by mas- 
sive metal hinges. It may also be compared with the chest facing page 24, which has 
four panels. The encircled rosette appears in the latter example, but quite differently 
treated. Here we have it in a form resembling the sunflower, the half disc appearing 
in the border above the panels. £. S. 

Mahogany Porte-Manteaux . . • . 599 

Hat tree of the same style of bold carving which is noticed in connection with the piano 
and a sofa in Part VH. and with several four-post bedsteads in other parts of this work. 
In the present case the workman had a good opportunity to display his skill in arranging hit 
carving, and he has used it creditably with perhaps a somewhat too bold handling, the re- 
sult of which has been that his outline is indeterminate — the main lines being, as it wrere, 
contradicted by the extremely deep and bold sculpture. R. Sturgis. 

ChEST-UPON-ChEST . . . • . FACING 6oO 

Tallboy of the close of the eighteenth century, a most effective piece, to be compared favour- 
ably with some which are described in earlier parts of this work. Such pieces, getting all 
their applied or inessential adornment by brass handles and scutcheons are made effective in 
the perfect adaptation of means to end and of the natural growth of the design out of the 
icquirement of so many drawers, so large, and placed in such and such a way R. Stur^ 

ix 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Desk ......... 6oi 

Writing-table with desk fittings, pigeon holes and drawers above. The front of the raised 
part of thb piece is closed by horizontal rotating shutters exactly like those shown in a 
sideboard in Part VII. This is a graceful piece of good proportions, but of severe sim- 
plicity of make. R. Sturgis. 

Sofa in the Sheraton Style . . • • 602 

Bench with back and arms of the kind called settee or more commonly, in view of the fi^t 
that its seat was evidently intended for upholstery, a *< sofa,** but of a special type. This 
is an admirable piece and might afford a valuable suggestion to modem designers. What 
would do more to make our drawing-rooms artistically effective than to resort to some such 
nmple and obvious motive of design as that which is the characteristic of the piece before 
us ? The fret use of little columns in a long-drawn colonnade varied by the breaks in the 
top rail which mark the principal uprights and the use of a similar design for the four front 
legs of the piece — the general freedom and lighmess of construction, the work of a man 
who had not feared to put in many parts in order that he may get those parts severally very 
slender and delicate, and the boldness with which he has divided the lower parts into three 
and the upper part into four main divisions — all of this goes to make a piece of furniture 
which it would be well to copy with such modifications as the new conditions may de- 
mand. The way to utilize such a piece is to set up cushions against the back which may 
indeed be tied in place with ribbons. Nor is there any reason why the seat should be un- 
usually or disagreeably high. Such a piece as we have here is hardly a loun^g so£i, but 
it is not desirable that the furniture of the drawing-room, of the dining-room or of the 
modem <'hall** should have the effect of accommodation for loungers. A certsun 
amount of straightness and of orderliness seems desirable. R. Sturgis. 

China Cabinet and Chairs • • . . 607 

Cabinet arranged to serve as a sideboard in a small room or as a secondary sideboard where 
there is a larger one. The table top below is left unobstracted for utilitarian purposes, and 
the little cupboard above with two shelves and glass doors with prettily arranged sash bars 
18 meant evidently for the keeping of a very choice tea set indeed. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Sideboard ...... 608 

Sideboards not unlike several which are shown in Part VII. The present one has a cer- 
tain architectural dignity given it by the columns which carry as if an entablature the whole 
system of drawers in one horizontal row, and especially that part of it which projects and 
carries a sort of attic at either end. The result is that a stately piece is produced but at 
the expense of considerable inconvenience with regard to the opening of the doors. There 
is a good deal of metal mounting as in the caps and bases of the columns, but the project- 
ing knobs are of cut glass. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Chest-of-Drawers and Dressing- 
Glass ...... FACING 608 

Bureau with dressing-glass. In this piece the Empire Style seems to have been extended 
somewhat beyond its bounding epoch 1815 ; for the piece can hardly be as early as that. 
The use of the appliques of metal b the chief mark of the style names, and those of the 
colonnettes are characteristic : but the decoradon of the cushioned-shaped drawer front 
and the anthemions set horizontally in a narrow band above are apparently inlays. The 
ornaments of the mirror frame are also, as it seems, flush with the surface. If this is so the 
piece is somewhat unusual — an outlying composition — a piece of work doubly interesting 
because difficult to classify. As a dressing-bureau the piece is sensible and in artistic com- 
position it is certainly good. R. Sturgis. 

Dressing-Glass . . . . . . 6ii 

Toilet glass and stand with drawen for toilet articles. These pieces were essential in days 
when large mirrors were too expensive for the custom of mounting them upon bureau tops 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAGI 

to have become general. The introduction of the modem dressing bureau has done away 
with these picturesque little articles of fumitiire, and that b a pity. Room should be found 
for them and a use for them provided ; the thing is too pretty to be abandoned in haste. 
R. Sturgis. 

Low Case-of-Drawers . . . . .615 

The case of drawers has been so fiilly described in Part V . that it is not necessary to 
dwell upon this specimen which should be compared with those on pages 331, 339, 343 
and facing 312 and 326. It resembles the one facing page 322 in having but one top 
drawer, but it differs from all these examples in having but one drawer below this. The 
terms <* high boy** and '*low boy** commonly used and without authority during the 
past few years, are avoided by all connoisseurs in furniture. The brass ring handles on 
the low case of drawers in question may be later additions, for the usual handle for pieces 
of this period is the fuchia,columbine, bell-flower or pearl drop that appears on the frontis- 
piece to part V. and on pages 217, 218, 343 and 345. £. S. 

Two Chests-of-Drawers . . facing 616 

A bureau which may be called a reflex of the French Empire Style, though in the present 
case the caps and bases of the colonnettes are not repeated and the piece is less richly 
adorned. 

The second is a piece of the same character, and this seems to point to a gradually increas- 
ing tendency in America during the early years of the nineteenth century to build chests-of- 
drawers with this curious architectural framework of colonnettes and horizontal members 
above. In the present case the ebborately carved colonnettes seem a reminiscence of the 
bedposts of the great four-posters shown in previous parts of this work. R. Sturgis. 

Bookcase and Secretary ..... 617 

Chest of drawers with bookcase above. Pieces of this character are shown in Parts V. 
and VI., and the reader should compare these examples with the one before us. This one 
is of extreme simplicity except for the inbid oval in front of the writing-desk lid, and 
which contains an eagle — all in different coloured woods. Such glazed doors as these 
were commonly lined with thin silk, apparently with the feeling that the glass must be 
cut and the sash bars arranged in decorative pattern and that as a result the books would 
not be well shown ; but the convenience of seeing the books clearly is not to be gainsaid. 
R. Sturgis. 

Chair and Two Tables . . . facing 618 

Two stands with tripod feet and a chair, all three inlaid with delicate ornamental pat- 
terns and bouquets of flowers, the material of the inlay stated to be mother-of-pearl. The 
pieces, though perhaps Oriental in make, are altogether Euopean in design. The Dutch 
received from the eastern islands, Portugal from Western India, the Dutch from China 
and Japan many pieces which in this way were made by a people unfamiliar with the de- 
signs which they were expected to execute. The result was always seen in a certain clum- 
siness of general design. This was thought to be redeemed by an extreme richness of 
adornment which in Europe would have been difficult to procure, and almost of necessity 
limited to persons of the highest fortune. Such pieces of furniture are really ** Museum 
pieces,** and are chiefly valuable as specimens of beaudful furniture. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Chest-of-Drawers . . . .621 

Chest -of-drawers in which a workman of about 1 780 tried to recall the rounded forms 
of an earlier and richer style than his. The curves are not well drawn nor well com- 
bined ; but the whole piece and its very elaborate base, with the four feet and unusually 
large brass handles and scutcheons taken into account, is quaint and picturesque beyond 
what it usual. R. Sturgis. 

zi 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGK 

Carved Mahogany Chair and Cellaret . facing 622 

This chair is probably the work of some Charleston cabinet-maker. The back b almost 
identical with those chairs on pages 148 and 447, which are also Charleston pieces and 
yery probably of native work. The back is delicately carved and the embowed top rail b 
particularly graceful. The cellaret at its side may be compared with the one fiicing page 
126, which is also bound vrith brass. The cellaret came into use with the mahogany 
sideboard about the beginning of the Reyoludon, and belongs to the Heppelwhite school. 
This specimen is richly carved and stands upon six feet somewhat similar to those of the 
chair m the same illustrauon. £. S. 

Bookcase and Desk • . . . facing 624 

Writing-desk with bookcase. A very beautiful piece, not unlike in character of the de- 
sign to the dressing bureau feeing page 608. The same method of decoration by inlay, 
probably metallic, seems to have been used on the horizontal bands, and is certainly em- 
ployed for the narrow lines of the edges here and there, and those which surround and 
adorn the larger flat surfaces. The mouldings of the panels, as of the two drawers be- 
neath the writing desk, are eflPecdve pieces of the familiar ovolo decoration, and those 
which surround the glass of the doors above are still more spirited and effective in deugn. 
Larger ornaments of metal in high rebef are used upon the legs below. This is a refined 
and delicate design, having a peculiar charm of form and aspect. R. Sturgis. 

Chairs in the Sheraton Style . . . 625 

Chair and armchair which are of the same design as the 9oh shown on page 602. It is 
noticeable that the same design which was good for the sofa is good for the duurs too ; 
though it u in the sofa that it shows its full decorative effect. R. Stuigis. 

Queen Anne Chairs .... facing 628 

Two tmusually handsome chairs, both vrith regard to their form and luxurious upholstering, 
date respectivdy from 1700 to 1710. They are, therefore, of the Queen Anne period 
and their natural surroundings would be a room carved by Grinling Gibbons or decorated 
in the elegant style of Marot. Their dignity and elegance need no conmient. £. S. 

Chinese Table with Slate Top • . . 629 

Table in which the extreme severity of the piece is modified by the moulded sur&ces of 
the legs and by a very prettily worked moulding at the bottom of the side rails. The le- 
gend on the metal plate inserted on the rail says the piece was brought firom Europe to Sa- 
lem in 1812, but the deugn suggests no European school of that time or of the previous 
quarter century. If made in China, as asserted, the piece must have been copied closely 
by Chinese workmen from a design furnished by the European who ordered it. R. Stur- 

DiNING-RoOM ..... FACING 632 

In this interesting room the wooden mantelpiece and the comer cupboard or buflfet are of 
the same style, and the dado dates probably firom the same epoch. It is most unfortunate that 
the precise details of the delicate moulding cannot be shown to the reader in a photograph ; 
but the diificuldes accompanying indoor photography are well known and are scarcely to be 
overcome by ordinary means. The cupboard is more elaborate than any of the three shown 
separately in the Plates of Part V. The simpler work of the time is commonly more 
tasteful than that which possesses more elaborate details, and this because there was no great 
school of architecture giving constant examples of highly decorated buildings from which 
inspiration could be drawn for domestic architecture. The transportation of the Georgian 
style from England to America was naturally more successful in its simpler examples than 
in pieces more elaborately worked out. It is only in the details of delicate plaster work 
that the more florid European designs of the eighteenth century were brought successfully 

• • 

lU 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGB 

to America; and the inspiration of these is almost always French — nor is it quite clear how 
this French influence came in. 

In the case before us the filling of the front of the buffet with glazed sash, of which the 
sash bars are arranged in an ingenious and complicated pattern, is one of the most notice- 
able detiils. We shall find similar sash, though less elaborate, in a bookcase in the present 
Part, and there is mendon in notes to illustrations in Part V. of the possible repiacmg of 
such sash as this by solid panels. It was such glazed doors, also, of which there was men- 
tion as having been very commonly lined by green silk, when it was desired to conceal the 
papers or unbound books within. When used, as in the present case, to display old family 
china or silver, no such concealment was desired. The sideboard in this room is an ad- 
mirable piece of design and of practical utility. It is one of the best examples of the se- 
verity introduced from France towards the close of the eighteenth century — and which 
belongs to what we call the Style Louis Sei^m — a severity which caused to be superseded 
the exaggerated scrolls of 1750 by the wisely understood modem adaptation of classical 
feeling characteristic of the style named R. Sturgis. 

Carved Rosewood Chair . . . facing 634 

In the course of this work we have noted the splendid and varied carving in oak and ma- 
hogany, but carving in rosewood has not been dwelt upon at length. Chippendale made 
frequent use of this wood, but, during the Louis Seize period and after, rosewood inbid with 
brass was considered very elegant. This chair is richly carved, the top rails ending in a spe- 
cies of pine-cone. The back and seat are stuffed and covered with pale yellow brocade. £. S. 

China Cupboard and Two Sheraton Chairs 

facing 638 

Comer cupboard of unusually elaborate deu(^, very fine and rich, and with an unusual ef- 
fect obtained by hanging the glazed doors outside of the niche in which the shelves are 
placed. The crowning piece with the double fronton and vase is unusually well designed, 
and is fitting and reasonable for such a decoradve piece of furniture as this. R. Sturgis. 

Carved Ebony Sofa .... facing 640 

This sofa or settee is one of two belonging to the splendid set of Chinese fumiture owned 
by Mrs. Caleb T. Smith, Smlthtown, L. I., described in the first note to illustrations of 
Part VI. Examples from this collection appear as the firontispiece to Part VI., and fac- 
ing 416, 424 and 487. The top and lower rails are composed of delicate scrolls and 
leaves ; the legs are cabriole ; and the back and seat are covered with crimson satin. The 
sofa cushion is black with Chinese flowers and birds embroidered in bright colours. £. S. 

"Fancy'' Settee ..••.. 641 

Settee with finely made rush seat, a most interesting piece of the more intelligent, more 
sincere and reasonable designing of the first yean of the nineteenth century. Painting has 
been used in a very slight and ineffectual way for the adomment of the back; moreover, 
Imes of darker colour have been drawn upon the smaller slats. It is not from the paint- 
ing that the piece derives its unmistakeable charm, but firom the simplicity of its make and 
the logical if not altogether graceful composition. R. Sturgis. 

Mahogany Sofa ....... 643 

This very simple sofa is of the Sheraton school, as may be proved by comparing it with the 
one on page 479. The piece is covered with dark garnet velvet. Sheraton would ar- 
range four hard square pillows at equal distances along the back. E. S. 

Mahogany Sofa ...... 645 

The 9oh with mahogany frame shown in this illustration is a ^miliar piece of fiimiture in 
many old families. It may be compared with the one facing 472 and 510. The feet 
are almost identical with those of the latter. Of course the sofa should be fiimished with 
around sofa cushion, similar to the one on page 651, under each scroll. £. S. 

nu 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING 648 



Thk peculiai and KMnnrhat ungncdul tlupe it 1 compindvely lite compodlim. 
bM at^Rciated when one lia down to rot in it with 1 book. The back ii ddiglilfuUj 
aapporCed and when tbc ieeC reat upon the oCher end, the eaae and comJwt of the povtioo 
can batdlr be deaccibed. £. S. 



Sofa 



649 



We roay conlidently date thk aofa about iSii, for we lind dmilar modita la 
laihjon papen of thar year. The curled up end it aDniewhat loggettiTe of a toboggan i the 
other end that of the conrcncioaal aoJa of the nineteenth cennuy, ai we nay ace bj »- 
faring to page* {7] and 645, and thote&cing 471 and 510. It ii alio tntereadngto 
compaiE it with another Chaileatcin piece 00 page 49], called a " Frendi Sofa." For 
alJK of ftahinnahlr infct lee jfa S39-54a> E. S. 



651 




THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

Part VIII 



1 



■» * 




lORfl.i.AIN (..MUNKI" 

/« Ihi roomi Dfll'i Athans hiHilulf „:.! Iliitoriwil iin.l Arl SocUty. Stt pagt jSl. 




THE FURNITURE OF 
OUR FOREFATHERS 

PART VIII. 

Woods, UpKolstery and Styles 

OF THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY 

ITHERTO little has been said of the new 
styles that ushered in the nineteenth century. 

HA little space may therefore be spared for 
i examination of this period. 

English invention seems to have become 
exhausted after Sheraton's death, and, with 
the exception of a little Gothic, the native work found its 
origin in France. 

The French Revolution, in forming anew the social 
state of France, brought great changes. A fanatical ad- 
miration for the antique became more conspicuous day by 
day in the usages of life and in all the details of costume. 

In the last days of Louis XVI., furniture already 
showed thinness of form and a seeking after simplicity that 
revealed an imitation of Roman marbles. The arrival of 
a society that worshipped the memories of the republics 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of Greece and Italy served to hasten the movement. 
Furniture became Athenian, and, soon after the expedition 
to Egypt, the buildings on the banks of the Nile were 
copied. Public taste proscribed the old traditions of ele- 
gance of the last two reigns and adopted exotic costume 
and furniture of a theatrical and monotonous character. 
The painter, Louis David, was largely responsible then 
for the aesthetic doctrines which condemned as bad taste 
the furniture ornamented with mosaic and marquetry. 
French workmen, scattered by the closing of the ateliers^ 
and discouraged by this transformation of styles, lost inter- 
est in artistic production, which consequently disappeared 
amid the general indifference. This date saw the begin- 
ning of the separation of art and industry. 

Under the Empire, the architect Percier was ordered 
to refurnish the residences which had been stripped by the 
successive sales after the fall of the monarchy. His nu- 
merous designs denote a fertile imagination, but he had to 
give satisfaction to a warrior, a son of the Revolution, who 
wanted to surround himself with memories of the military 
campaigns in Egypt and Italy. Percier set himself the 
task of multiplying warlike emblems on all objects of 
furniture; he copied the military tent for the office, as 
well as alcoves in the bedrooms that recalled the altars in 
the museums in Rome, or the Pompeian triclinium. 

Jacob Desmalter was the most authoritative cabinet- 
maker during the First Empire. He it was who w^as 
charged with the execution of the large mahogany con- 
soles and buffets supported by sphynx figures in bronze 
which garnished the apartments in the palace of the 
Tuileries and the royal chdteaux. These orders were 
executed with a complete ignorance of rules of art. We 

57a 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

do not know which to deplore the most, the massive and 
ungraceful forms, or the pretentiousness. 

The above is the explanation given by M. Victor 
Champier of the origin of the Empire Style. The 
course of this style may be traced in the fashion publica- 
tions of the day, from which the following notes have 
been extracted. 




EMPIRE SOFA 
Owned by Mrs. WiUiam Young, Biltimott, Md. S« pige 645. 

" Since last season considerable alterations and im- 
provements have been made in furniture and in ornamental 
decorations in the interior of tasteful houses. The Egyp- 
tian costume, at best but indifferently understood, is totally 
laid aside, and a style of furniture drawn from the florid 
Ionic is substituted. We shall now be no longer disgusted 
with the horrid imitations from what is called the antique^ 
and shall rejoice to see that species of barbarism completely 
exploded, and the mansions of the great again become the 
seat of the Arts and Sciences, by being stored with mov- 
ables of domestic use, designed after the purest Grecian 
models. A more grand and beautiful outline is adopted in 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

the shape of each piece of furniture. The whole are alto- 
gether divested of superfluous arabesque ornaments, which, 
in general, have been placed without taste or discrimina- 
tion. Among the alterations in the wall-decorations, of 
state apartments, the introduction oi flock^ covering the 
apartments in one uniform colour, has been attempted with 
but indifferent success ; though the effect is rich, if man- 
aged well, and is certainly next to hangings of silk. All 
mahogany furniture is now divested of inlaid ornaments. 
Chairs, tables, sofas, etc., used in drawing-rooms, are all 
covered with gold, or a mixture of bronze and gold. The 
japan is now entirely confined to the third class of gentry. ^^ 
(1806.) 

^' Rooms in pearl colour, shaded with dark and light 
lines, relieved with styles of a darker hue and gilt 
mouldings ; pilasters painted in bronze, on a gold ground, 
are also introduced. Architraves and mouldings may be 
gilt, or in bronze and light satin-wood. Doors, dove satin, 
satin-wood with black mouldings, or light satin-wood, 
with black mouldings. Paper to imitate cloth is also very 
fashionable, with gilt mouldings and palmites. Pilasters, 
painted bronze on a light ground, or arabesque devices in 
gold, on a light ground, are over doors, and glasses to suit. 

"Antique candelabras, rosewood and gold pier-tables, 
and the chimney-pieces, are most adapted to receive lights 
on which are introduced bronze and ormolu figures, etc., 
with branches to receive wax candles. The antique and 
Grecian lamps in bronze and ormolu are also suspended 
in the centre of rooms or alcoves. Window curtains of 
chintz with Roman and antique draperies and silk fringes, 
etc., to correspond, are truly elegant. Chairs and sofas 
still continue from drawings after the antique, in rosewood 

574 




UieJ til a booieait O 



I,()UIS XVI. VITRINH 

mrJ hy Or James Rta,l Chad^vick, B/H 



I, Mail Sii pagt sSl- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

and gold, mahogany and gold, or black and gold." 

(1807.) 

**The Classical ornaments introduced in furniture are 

now more closely than ever confined to the Grecian and the 
Etruscan ; the Egyptian having been so badly understood, 
it has fallen into disrepute, although possessing many beau- 
ties for particular apartments, and capable of producing 
the most grand effect for candle-light embellishment. 

" The Gothic style being so well adapted to country man- 
sions, will always be used in England. Its ornaments and 
component parts are in themselves extremely elegant, and 
capable of producing great effect : they require taste alone 
in the selection to produce a pleasing composition. Such 
decoration should be wholly confined to gold, or a royal 
blue, or crimson grounds, or on oak, or scarlet grounds, in 
which case the decoration intended for the walls should 
follow the same style. Painted glass should be avoided in 
colours as various as the rainbow; we allude to the gaudy 
manner of filling up Gothic windows, now so much in 
request, two colours at most being necessary. These col- 
ours may be opposed, so as to form shades of the same col- 
our, as are so well managed in the Colleges at Oxford, the 
effect of which need only be seen to produce its adoption. 
We hope to see the taste of this country carried to a greater 
pitch of excellence than that which now exists in France. 
England may now boast of its mechanics ; at no period 
did there exist so great a portion of talent in this country ; 
we mean among the natives, and not foreigners." (1808.) 

" Of architectural ornament, the most brilliant speci- 
men is a boudoir in the Grecian style ; this apartment is 
octangular, four of the panels are of mirror, the others 
ornamented with pilasters embossed richly, and relieved by 

S7S 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

gilding. Those parts of the walls not ornamented are 
covered with a rich mazarine blue velvet ; the ceiling is 
covered in eight compartments corresponding with the 
sides, and decorated with antique paintings copied from 
the finest specimens of Herculaneum, and the centre 
forms a dome from which the apartment is lighted. 
Ottomans are placed in the recesses, and the chairs are 
Grecian with stuffed backs and seats of velvet ; the whole 
forming a blaze of splendour as elegant as unique. The 
Gothic, though exploded from our buildings, is, however, 
still preserved in our furniture; we have heard of a 
* Gothic state bed for an infant * who in the course of a 
few months must have Gothic bats and balls or a Gothic 
babyhouse ! '* 

** We observe with pleasure a more tasteful arrange- 
ment daily taking place ; the gaudy colours of the chintz 
and calico furniture have given place to a more chaste 
style, in which two colours only are employed to produce 
the appearance of damask. The same style is adopting in 
carpets, giving apartments a uniform and pleasing appear- 
ance. Bronze still prevails as a ground-work for chairs, 
sofas, cabinets, etc., and will always be classic when deli- 
cately and sparingly assisted with gold ornaments. A 
great deal of black has been used in chairs, etc., but the 
appearance is harsh, and the contrast too violent to be ap- 
proved by genuine and correct taste; its cheapness can 
alone make its use tolerable. Manchester coloured vel- 
vets, used for furniture and curtains, produce a rich effect. 
Poles richly decorated form the best and most fashionable 
supporters for draperies, and in all probability will con- 
tinue throughout the present year.'* 

" A considerable alteration has taken place in the style 

576 




LAUV't. tSCKriOIRt 

t Ali'iiH\ I'lililule and Hislorital tinJ Art Soctel, See pngt j 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




LOUIS XVI. WRITING-DESK 
Owned bjr Dr. Jama Read Chadwick, Botton, Mau. See p^e 5I1, 

of fitting up apartments within these few months. Instead 
of a gaudy display in colouring, a more pleasing and 
chaste effect is produced in the union of two tints. This 
has been happily managed in calicoes, producing an ap- 
pearance equal to silk, particularly in the richer and more 
brilliant colours. We have witnessed this effect in a full 
crimson damask pattern, lined with blue embossed calico; — 
the manufacture of Messrs. Dudding & Nelson. A sim- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ilar taste has been followed with some success in paper- 
hanging, exhibiting a rich appearance when finished with 
gold, or black and gold mouldings. Carpets, especially 
for principal apartments, have partially fallen into the same 
good taste. This mode of furnishing, producing in the 
predominant features a composed and uniform effect, aids 
greatly the meubles of a grand room, especially where gild- 
ing is introduced. Should silk become objectionable from 
its expense, we strongly recommend the use of these new 
patterns. They arc particularly calculated for candle- 
light effects. Dining Parlour. — The coverings of floors 
are in crimson drugget, milled to a proper substance, and 
panelled with a border of black furniture cloth, producing 
a warm and rich appearance. . . . Chandeliers of 
cut glass on a metal framework, with ornaments of or moulu 
and bronze, arc generally used for illuminating rooms, af- 
fording a brilliant and diffused light from the centre of 
the ceiling." 

" Heavy and cumbrous objects arc giving place to airy 
and light designs. The large cornice, the ponderous man- 
tel-piece, and massy chairs yield the palm to modern inven- 
tions founded on the firm basis of observation of nature.*' 

" It cannot but be highly gratifying to every person of 
genuine taste to observe the revolution which has, within 
these few years, taken place in the furniture and decora- 
tions of the apartments of people of fashion. In conse- 
quence of this revolution, effected principally by the study 
of the antique and the refined notions of beauty derived 
from that source, the barbarous Egyptian style, which a 
few years since prevailed, is succeeded by the classic ele- 
gance which characterized the most polished ages of Greece 
and Rome." (1809.) 

578 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The fashion-plates of the day contain many examples 
of Gothic designs in oak and mahogany. In May, 1810, 
one paper gives a design of a Gothic sofa upholstered with 




CARVED OAK CHAIR 
Ovned t>T Robert Colbr, Ek|., Ncv York. 



•' French stuffing and morocco purple leather in mahogany, 
satin-wood or wainscot for library." 

Sideboards were also being carved in oak, and to this 
period may belong the sideboard appearing as the frontis- 
piece to Part VII. One design of this date is thus rec- 
ommended : " The sideboard should be made entirely of 
mahogany, or of fine oak, which has been so generally 
adopted of late in mansions furnished in the ancient style. 
This, in fact, is the more consistent, and therefore the 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

more tasteful, mode of decoration. Mahogany, however, 
may be used with great propriety, and perhaps the effect 
of that wood, on the whole, is richer than that produced 
by 9ak." 

" In France it is now considered essential that the 
architect should design the furniture as well as the build- 
ing, as unity of character is highly valued, which cannot 
be obtained unless the whole is guided by the same mind. 
To a very different practice this country is indebted for 
the ill effects of our buildings, furnished as they are under 
as many feelings of taste as there may be articles of furni- 
ture. . . . The manufacture of oak into furniture 
and other articles has undergone an extraordinary improve- 
ment in point of workmanship, and it is now wrought 
with so much elegance as to rival the more expensive 
woods of other countries." 

" In our own time, the French style gave way to the 
Roman and that to the Greek; and as if the early ages 
must of necessity afford purer sources for research, the 
Persian and the Egyptian have been brought forward and 
have failed to supersede those chaste models of harmony 
and truth." 

" Gothic has fair claim to be considered as legitimate 
art, although so long rejected as an adventitious mixture of 
beauty and deformity. Probably the very term by which 
it has been known has done much to injure its reputation ; 
as we may have associated with it ideas of ignorance and 
barbarism. It is now almost rescued from these calum- 
nies by the means that have been afforded for the cultiva- 
tion of its beauties in the vast growth of foreign inter- 
course, riches, and leisure, which are the ostensible patrons 
of genius and taste." (1813.) 

580 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

A carved oak chair belonging to Robert Colby, Esq., 
appears on page 579. The stretchers, legs, and supports 
to the arms are turned spirals, the back of the chair is 
elaborately carved. The grotesque heads may be com- 
pared with those on page 65, and facing pages 424 and 
434. The chair is covered with dark-green leather fast- 
ened with brass nails. 

A card table of this period, with painted flowers, in 
the Valentine Museum, and represented on page 505, came 
from the family of Sir Fulwar Skipwith, having been 
purchased from the old family residence, Prestwould^ in 
Mecklenburg County, Va. 

A lady's escritoire^ of the Louis XV. period, gilded, in- 
laid with mother-of-pearl, and decorated with handsome 
brasses, faces page 576. 

Facing page 571 is a cabinet, which, like the above, 
belongs to the estate of Mrs. Mary Parker Corning. The 
plaques and columns are of Dresden china and the frame 
is of ebony ornamented with gold. Facing 618 are a table 
and chair, gilded, lacquered and inlaid with mother-of- 
pearl. These belonged also to the Corning family. The 
small table is owned by Mr. James B. Sanders of Albany. 

A desk of the Louis XVL period, imported from 
France by Dr. James Read Chadwick, Boston, Mass., 
is on page 577. The legs are reeded, and inlaid with 
brass. Brass mouldings outline the drawers and doors. 
This is of the same date as the vitrine (glass case) facing 
page 574, which is likewise ornamented with brass work. 

Two handsome card tables, facing page 584, are rose- 
wood inlaid with brass. They now belong to Robert A. 
Boit, Esq., of Boston, Mass., and were purchased in London 
by his grandfather, John Hubbard, Esq., of Boston, at the 

5«x 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

sale of the Russian Ambassador's furniture. These pieces 
were brought to this country between 1815 and 1825. 

The handsome bookcase and desk belonging also to 
Robert A. Boit, Esq., Boston, Mass., and facing page 624, 
is said to be by Riesener. 

We have already spoken on pages 424—428 of the 
pianos that were imported and made in this country. One 
by Georgius Astor appears on page 585, and another, said to 
have been the first upright piano made in America, is seen 
on page 583. This was made by the Loud Brothers, of 
Philadelphia, and was presented to Memorial Hall, Phila- 
delphia, by Mr. Isaac A. Schwarz. Thomas Loud, of 
London, was one of the first to make uprights. 

In 1825, T. Loud, a pianoforte maker from London, 
settles in Canal Street, and has a " Philadelphia-made 
pianoforte *' for sale in the same year. Space forbids any 
account of the evolution of the piano, but since we have 
seen that the virginal, spinet and harpsichord were of fre- 
quent occurrence in the inventories, we may briefly define 
the different instruments. The virginal was the English 
name of the spinet, and, according to Scaliger (born in 
1484), the name came from the introduction of little 
pointed quills or plectra, and as the crow-quill plectrum 
somewhat resembled a thorn [spina) ^ he derives from it the 
name of the instrument. The French called it espinette 
{epinette) from espine or epine^ thorn. The name virginals 
was employed because maids and virgins played on them. 
This name passed out of use during the Restoration in Eng- 
land, and the word spinet (or spinnet) was adopted, as well 
as the new wing form. 

The harpsichord is, however, quite a different instru- 
ment, and regarding this we may quote A. J. Hipkins, the 

582 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



UPRIGHT PIANO 
Mule br Loud and Brathcn, PhiUddiitiia ; now in Memorial HiU, PhiUddphia. See p^e 5SS, 

recognized authority on the old keyboard stringed instru- 
ments. He says : 

" The harpsichord is a double, triple, and in some 
instances, quadruple, spinet, the sounds being excited by a 
jack or quill plectrum, the same as in the spinet or virgi- 
S83 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

nal. In other words, instead of one string to a note, as 
in the spinet or virginal, the harpsichord has two, three, 
and sometimes, although rarely, four. . . . The im- 
portance of the harpsichord during the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries was very great. Where the grand piano 
would now go, the harpsichord went. . . . The 
complex nature of the harpsichord required a larger and a 
differently shaped case to that of the spinet, the grand 
piano being prefigured by it. From this peculiarity of 
form the Germans called it Flugel or wing, also Kielflugel 
from the plectrum {kiel^ quill) causing the sound produc- 
tion. The Dutch, Flemish, and French named it from 
the tail or long continuation Staartstuk^ Clavecin d queued 

" We find in the name a recognition of the harp 
shape, the lower bass strings requiring the harp disposi- 
tion rather than the trapeze one of the spinet. Galilei 
says the harpsichord was so named because it represented 
an Arpa Giacente or couched (lying down) harp. The 
harpsichord appears nearly as early as the spinet ; in order 
of time there is very little between them." Hence, it will 
be seen that the harpsichord and spinet are two distinct in- 
struments and must never be confused. 

In 1792, Dodds & Claus, at the Musical Instrument 
Manufactory, 66 Queen Street, New York, advertise as 
follows : " The Piano-Forte is become so exceedingly 
fashionable in Europe that few polite families are without 
it. This much-esteemed instrument forms an agreeable 
accompaniment to the female voice, takes up but little 
room, may be moved with ease, and consequently kept in 
tune with but little attention, so that it is on that account 
superior to the harpsichord. The improvements which 
Messrs. Dodds & Claus have made in the forte piano have 

584 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

rendered it much more acceptable than those imported. 
The introduction of their newly-invented hammers and 
dampers is acknowledged to be a great improvement, as 
also the means they have taken to prepare their wood to 
stand the effect of our climate, which imported instru- 
ments never do, but are sure to suffer not only from the 




Made by Georglui Astor, No. 16 Wyck Stmt, London, now in ihe Glcn-Sindcn hoiue, Scotii^ N. V. 
Sec pige jSi. 

agitation of the vessel but the saline quality of the seas. 
One great advantage to the purchaser is that Messrs. 
Dodds & Claus make it an invariable rule to repair any 
instrument that may prove defective in the workmanship 
if applied to ivithin two years after delivery" 

Among the woods used during the last half of the 
seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth century, were 
oak for wainscotting, and cedar for doors ; but the doors 
about this time were also made of mahogany. Where 
the woodwork had to be painted or gilt, which was done 
extensively about this time, it was of deal ; even the carv- 
ings were painted or gilt, so that one wood was as good 
585 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

as another for that purpose, but deal was the most econo- 
mical. Peat, cedar and lime were much used by the 
carvers of this period, as they were more suitable for the 
tender work required for flowers, etc. Grinling Gibbons 
used chiefly lime-tree ; oak for church panellings and 
mouldings; and sometimes cedar in the architraves of 
large mansions; pear-wood or box-wood for medallion 
portraits. Elm was sometimes used for various necessary 
articles about the house, such as dressers, and also ash, 
beech, birch, and poplar of the three varieties — white, 
black, and aspen — sycamore was much used ; in fact, in some 
old houses in England the floors are of sycamore, and 
the wainscot of poplar. Walnut was extensively used — 
both English and Italian— eflfect being gained by contrast- 
ing the plain wood with " Burr " centres. Amboyna and 
rosewood were also used. Chestnut was, at an earlier date, 
used in the substantial parts of buildings, and, in old 
houses, is often mistaken even by good workmen for oak, 
which it so greatly resembles in colour and substance. 
Ebony mouldings were used by the Dutch cabinet-makers. 
Maple, yew, and cherry were also in use. Pear-tree was 
cut into boards, and occasionally took the place of oak, 
while veneers of pollard oak were used in centres of 
panels. Among the woods used in combination, we find 
one cabinet of oak and cedar inlaid with rosewood : this 
dates about 1620. Another, about 1690, is an example 
of the cabinet that used to be made when the heir came 
of age, on which occasion every kind of wood that grew 
on the estate was used in its construction. Therefore, we 
have pollard oak, thorn acacia, sycamore, walnut, rose- 
wood, burr walnut and pear wood. 

A carved oak cabinet of the fifteenth century, be- 

586 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



longing to Mr. Henry Fitz -Waters, Salem, Mass., faces 
page 588. It is of the same period as the cupboard 





CARVED CHAIR FROM BOMBAV AND CARVED TEAK-WOOD STAND 



Owned by Mn. Thomu Small, CharleUon, S.C. Sec pige 59a. 

facing page 238, though the workmanship is somewhat 
more elaborate. 

Before the tropical forests of the Old and the New 
World had been explored for the woods of beautiful grain 
and colour that delighted the worker in marquetry, the 
inlaying and veneering were principally done with native 
woods. Ebony, of course, was always known and prized. 
Palissandre, or violet-wood, from Guiana, was also used 
during the seventeenth century ; as also was rosewood 
for inlays. None of the European woods has the deep 
and warm tints of the tropical products, but their mark- 
ings are often very beautiful. The yew, which, with its 
5S7 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

other lines, blends a slight trace of pink or rose, and has 
a very rich appearance, was the wood used for the finest 
and most costly works. This wood was among the fur- 
niture of Louis XIV. The common veneering timber 
was walnut; but as this has few of those variegations, 
technically called " curls," the works ornamented with it 
were somewhat deficient in beauty. The knotty parts of 
pollard oaks and pollard elms were much better adapted 
for the purpose of ornament, although the grain of both is 
open and apt to rise ; and so these were sometimes turned 
to account. 

The exotic woods used before 1 830 were the following : 

Rosewood, principally from Brazil, in logs about eigh- 
teen inches wide. The more distinct the darker parts 
were from the purple-red ground, the more the wood was 
esteemed. The veneers of rosewood averaged nine to the 
inch. 

Kingwood, also from Brazil, is extremely hard. It 
shows black veins on a chocolate ground. 

Beef-wood, from New Holland, was principally used 
for forming borders to work in which the larger woods 
were employed. In colour it is pale red, and not so 
clouded as mahogany. 

Tulip-wood is very hard, and its hue is of a clouded 
red and yellow. It was principally used in bordering, 
and in small articles such as tea-caddies and ladies* work- 
tables. 

Zebra-wood, brown on a white ground clouded with 
black, was cheap, and was employed in larger work such 
as tables. 

Satin-wood, well known for its brilliant yellow colour 
with delicate glowing shades, was in high favour for a long 

S88 










CARVED OAK CABINET 
OiimtJ by Mr. Henry Filx. U'alrri, Satan, Man. See pagei sS6-J. 



,• •• 

» •• • 



• •• 



• 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

time. It was very fashionable in England during the last 
half of the eighteenth century. Cipriani and Angelica 
Kaufmann both painted medallions, cameo ornaments and 
borders on table tops and fronts, harpsichord cases, etc., 
made of satin-wood or coloured in the manner of the 
Vemis Martin work. Satin-wood was very extensively 
used by Heppelwhite and Sheraton. At the end of our 
period, however, it was somewhat neglected: Amboyna- 
wood of various shades took its place for a time. 

Snake-wood, of a deep red colour with black shades, 
was principally used for bordering and small work. 

Hare-wood, with a light-brown ground and waves re- 
sembling satin-wood in arrangement, was also fashionable. 

Botany Bay oak, Coromandel wood, acker-wood, and 
Canary-wood were also in request. Purple-wood was in- 
troduced after 1800. Rarer cabinet timbers were part- 
ridge, leopard and porcupine woods. 

The inventories of the royal furniture during the reign 
of Louis XIV. mention the following varieties of wood : 
Grenoble walnut, Grenoble root, German wood, German 
root, polished walnut, mastic, English yew root, ebony, 
Palissandre (violet ebony), cedar, oak, fir, beech, blackened 
pear and olive. Mahogany is noticeably absent. 

Ebony, a heavy, hard wood, deep black in colour, 
grows in tropical countries. It was known to the Greeks 
and Romans, and is mentioned by Ezekiel as one of the 
Tyrian exports. It was used in Italy in the sixteenth cen- 
tury for costly furniture in combination with ivory incrus- 
tations. The Dutch merchants sent it to Holland in large 
quantities, after they settled in Ceylon (1630), and it be- 
came very popular in Europe in the seventeenth century. 
We have had evidence of its presence in the Dutch homes 

589 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of New Amsterdam. The French obtained it from Mada- 
gascar, and from it derived the name ebenistes that they gave 
to their fine cabinet-makers. In addition to black, the 
most valuable kind of ebony, there are green and yellow 
varieties. A splendid example of ebony carving is the 
sofa facing page 640, belonging to Mrs. Caleb T. Smith's 
collection (see page 416). The back and seat are covered 
with crimson satin. 

The table facing page 592, comes from New Orleans. 
It is of the Louis XIV. period and is composed of ebony, 
marquetry, silver and bronze. This was a present from 
Louis Philippe to the Marquis de Marigny, a resident of 
New Orleans after the fall of Louis XVI. When Louis 
Philippe, in exile, was in New Orleans, he was the guest 
of de Marigny, and in after years, when he became King 
of France, the Marquis de Marigny visited him and re- 
ceived many presents, which are now divided among his 
relatives. 

On pages 603 and 625 are represented an ebony sofa 
and chairs that formed a set belonging to Stephen Girard, of 
Philadelphia. These are in the Sheraton style and belong 
to the early period of the nineteenth century. They are 
now preserved in Girard College, Philadelphia. 

The handsome carved chair on page 587 came from 
Bombay and is a fine specimen of Indian work : it is in- 
teresting to compare it with the carved teak-wood stand of 
Chinese work on the same page. The latter has a border 
of the fret-work of which Chippendale was so fond. The 
border of the marble slab is richly inlaid with brass. Upon 
this table stand a few pieces of the famous " Peacock 
China " made only for the Emperor. His monogram is 
upon each piece. These came from Pekin when it was 

590 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




OLD SPANISH CABIHET 

> Rutwll Lowell, uid now by the Mine) Bumetl, Ciunbridge, Miu. Sec pigc J91. 



sacked in iS6o. These valuable articles are owned by 
Mrs. Thomas Small, Charleston, S. C. 

In many reference books, the credit of introducing 
mahogany into cabinet-making is given to a Dr. Gibbons. 
The circumstantial story is as follows : 

Some planks were brought to Dr. Gibbons, of London, 
by his brother, a West Indian sea-captain. The doctor 
had more mahogany than he wanted for medicine, and 
thought he would have some of the wood used in a house 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

that he was building in King Street, Covent Garden. The 
carpenters laid the wood aside as too hard. Mrs. Gibbons 
wanted a candle-box, and Dr. Gibbons gave the mahogany 
planks to a cabinet-maker named Wollaston for the pur- 
pose. The latter also complained that the wood was too 
hard for his tools ; but Dr. Gibbons persisted, and the 
candle-box was soon finished. Dr. Gibbons was so pleased 
with it that he ordered a bureau of mahogany. This was 
such a triumph that many connoisseurs came to see it, and 
the Duchess of Buckingham asked for some of the wood 
to have furniture made. 

That the above is a fable, that credulous editors have 
hitherto unquestioningly adopted from their predecessors, 
is evident from what has already appeared here (see pages 
103, 148, 173 and 257). Furniture made of mahogany 
existed in New York before 1700, and in Philadelphia 
very little later. In London, the wood was certainly 
familiar to native makers long before that date. The table 
in the House of Commons when Cromwell turned Parlia- 
ment out is said to have been of mahogany. 

It is probable that the Spaniards were the first to use 
mahogany for furniture, and that the Dutch and English 
soon followed their example. The Spanish cabinet-mak- 
ers were very skilful, and their wares were famous through- 
out Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
We have seen how popular the " Spanish table " was, and 
we have also had instances of Spanish chairs and stools in 
the New York inventories. Spanish leather was always 
very highly prized, especially that of Cordova. 

A very fine example of early Spanish workmanship is 
given on page 591. It is a cabinet made of Spanish chest- 
nut on a columned frame. It was imported by Mr. James 

592 




^ 3 

t 3 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Russell Lowell, and now belongs to his grand-daughters, 
the Misses Burnett, at Elmwoody Cambridge, Mass. 

Another piece of Spanish work from the same house, 
also imported by Mr. Lowell, is a carved oak chest standing 
on legs grooved in much the same way as the plainer 
chest on page i6i, which also has three panels. The 
original iron-work adds to the interest of the present 
example shown on page 595. 

Spanish escritorios of ebony, or marquetry, were as re- 
nowned in the sixteenth century as the " German cabinets." 
Those of Salamanca, sometimes ornamented with remark- 
able bronzes, were particularly esteemed, as will be shown 
by the following quotation from a curious little Spanish 
book published toward the end of the sixteenth century 
under the title of Didlogos muy apazibles (Very Pleasant 
Dialogues) : 

" How much did you pay for this escritorio ? " 

" More than it was worth : forty ducats." 

" Of what wood is it ? " 

" The red is mahogany [caobd) from Havana ; this, 
which is black, is ebony, and the white is ivory." 

" It is certainly very curious, and the marquetry is 
beautifully made." 

" Here is a buffet [bufete) of a better workmanship." 

" Where was that made ? " 

" The buffet and the chairs came from Salamanca." 

Another author of the same period tells us that they 
brought to Seville from the Indies much ebony, of which 
they made escritorios and mesas (tables) of the most beauti- 
ful workmanship. 

Thus we have direct evidence that mahogany was used 
by Spanish cabinet-makers before 1600. It has been 

593 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

suggested that, in consequence, when furniture was made 
of mahogany, during the next century, it came to be 
called by the name of those who first used that wood, and 
that the " Spanish " table was merely a mahogany table. 

Before the close of the seventeenth century, a great 
deal of the new Dutch and English furniture was being 
made of this wood. About 1690 is the date attributed to 
many specimens in the museums of Great Britain. Among 
these, we find a cabinet with rounded top and interior nest 
of drawers ; and a table with raised edge. A wing chair 
with mahogany cabriole back and front legs, dating from 
about 1 700, also occurs. Mahogany chairs of the Queen 
Anne period are plentiful. 

The French cabinet-makers adopted mahogany much 
later than those of England and Holland. Havard*s Z)/r- 
tionnaire d' ameublement says that mahogany was not fashion- 
able in France till the reign of Louis XVI., when it was 
adopted from the English. However, we know that the 
French were acquainted with this wood early in the cen- 
tury. Chomel (1732) says oi acajou ^ "its wood is strong, 
somewhat light, sometimes white and sometimes reddish, 
not at all susceptible to worms, and in great demand for 
making furniture and building ships." 

The Dictionnaire de Trevoux (1771) says that this 
wood is easily worked : " The armoires that are made of 
it give a good odour to clothes and preserve them from 
ruin. These properties have caused some people to think 
that this tree is a species of cedar." 

In 173 1, Mark Catesby noted regarding mahogany: 
" The excellency of this wood for all domestic uses is now 
sufficiently known in England." 

He also says of Red Bay: "The wood is fine-grained 

S94 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

and of excellent use for cabinets, etc. I have seen some 
of the best of this wood selected that has resembled 




CARVED OAK CHEST 
OiigiruDy owiKil bjr Mr. Jimei Ruacll Lowell. Sec page 59J. 

water'd sattin ; and has exceeded in beauty any other kind 
of wood I ever saw." 

In 1741, E. Chambers describes mahogany as follows: 
" There are three species. The first is commonly 
known under the appellation of cedar, in the British islands 
of America, where this tree grows naturally, and is one of 
the largest trees in the country. . . . The second sort 
is the mahogany, the wood of which is now well known 
in England. This tree is a native of the warmest parts 
of America, growing plentifully in the islands of Cuba, 
Jamaica, and Hispaniola : there are also many of them on 
the Bahama Islands. In Cuba and Jamaica there are trees 
of a very large size, so as to cut into planks of six feet in 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

breadth ; and rise to a great height, notwithstanding they 
are sometimes found growing on rocks, where there is 
scarcely any earth for their nourishment, 

" The excellence of this wood for all domestic uses is 
now sufficiently known ; and it is a matter of surprise that 
the tree should not have been taken notice of by any 
historian or traveller, to this time. The only author who 
has mentioned this tree is Mr, Catesby . . . although 
the wood has for many years been brought to England in 
great quantities/* 

We have already seen that, in his book, Chippendale 
attached little importance to mahogany. Like the French, 
he preferred furniture that was carved, gilded and painted 
to that which depended upon the rich colours of its 
natural grain for its beauty. The Chippendale carved 
chairs, with open backs, are very often of walnut. 

The Adam furniture was made chiefly, though not 
exclusively, of mahogany. The turned top-rails of the 
chairs were sometimes enriched with ormoulu decoration. 
Often, however, Adam chairs are painted and gilt. 

Heppelwhite uses mahogany freely, but not exclusively. 

Sheraton says : " The kind of mahogany employed in 
chair-making ought to be Spanish or Cuba, of a clean, 
straight grain ; wood of this quality will rub bright, and 
keep cleaner than any Honduras wood. ... It ap- 
pears from some of the later specimens of French chairs, 
some of which we have been favoured with a view of, 
that they follow the antique taste, and introduce into their 
arms and legs various heads of animals ; and that mahogany 
is the chief wood used in their best chairs, into which 
they bring portions of ornamented brass. . • . 

" Drawing-room chairs are finished in white and gold, 

596 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

or the ornaments may be japanned ; but the French finish 
them in mahogany with gilt mouldings/* 

In 1 8 1 6, the Regent's cabinet-maker gives his ideas on 
the appropriate use of this wood, as follows : " Mahog- 
any, when used in houses of consequence, should be con- 
fined to the parlour and bed-chamber floors ; in furniture 
for these apartments, the less inlay of other woods the 
more chaste will be the style of work : if the wood be of 
a fine, compact, and bright quality, the ornaments may be 
carved clean in the mahogany. Where it may be requisite 
to make out panelling by an inlay of lines, let those lines 
be of brass or ebony. In drawing-rooms, boudoirs, ante- 
rooms, or other apartments. East and West India satin- 
woods, rosewood, tulip-wood, and the other varieties of 
woods brought from the East, may be used. With satin 
and light-coloured woods, the decorations may be of ebony 
or rosewood. With rosewood, let the decorations be 
ormoulu, and the inlay of brass. Bronzed metal, though 
sometimes used with satin-wood, has a cold and poor efl^ect : 
it suits better on gilt work, and will answer well enough 
with mahogany.'* 

Mahogany was imported in large quantities by the 
American dealers. At Belcher's Wharf (New York, 1 74 1 ) 
Nathaniel Cunningham was selling mahogany planks. In 
1 75 1, Robert Stidman, of Boston, owned 859 feet, worth 
^236-4-6. John Scott advertises in the Virginia Gazette 
(October 8, 1767) : "I have a quantity of good Jamaica 
mahogany, fit for tables and desks, which has been by me 
seven years, and will work it up for any gentlemen who 
please to employ me, for ready money, much cheaper than 
any other person will, as I intend to leave oflT the busi- 



ness." 



597 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

We also learn from the Maryland Gazette (1773) : 
" Gerard Hopkins hath for sale in Gay Street, Baltimore 
town, mahogany boards and planks, sawed to suit every 
branch of cabinet and chair work, as also mahogany logs : 
he still continues carrying on the cabinet business in its 
various branches as usual/* 

Stearns and Waldo at the Brick Store, Washington 
Street, Salem, have " camwood, logwood and redwood by 
ton or hundred," in 1790. 

Elias H. Derby, of Salem, advertises for sale in 1792, 
" about 4,000 feet of seasoned mahogany planks and boards 
of a superior quality " ; and, in the same year, W. P. Bart- 
lett, of Salem, "about 7,000 or 8,000 feet (board measure) 
of very excellent mahogany in logs/* 

New York alone could have supplied large manufac- 
tories with mahogany. At the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century, some of the announcements in the papers 
include: 44 logs of mahogany, 1801 ; 35,000 feet; 30 
feet Honduras ; 80,000 feet prime mahogany in logs and 
planks, 6 tons real Campeachy , and 1 4 of Nicaragua wood, 
1802. In 1804, 150 pieces of ebony wood came in; and, 
in 1806, 179 sticks of cabinet-wood for cabinet-makers. 

Instances could be multiplied ad lib. However, suf- 
ficient evidence of the plentifulness of mahogany here has 
been already supplied by the stocks of native cabinet- 
makers. It would seem that there was a valid objection 
to mahogany furniture made abroad. In 1789, Wanzey 
writes : 

" I was told the air at New York is so dry as to crack 
mahogany furniture brought from England, unless the 
wood was seasoned there first." 

In Alexander Hamilton's Report on Manufactures 

598 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



(1791), we read : " Cabinet-wares are gen- 
erally made little, if at all, inferior to those 
of Europe. Their extent is such as to have 
admitted of considerable exportation. An 
exemption from duty of the several kinds 
of wood ordinarily used in these manufact- 
ures seems to be all that is requisite by way 
of encouragement." 

The native woods used by the American 
cabinet-makers have been fully exemplified 
in the inventories of these craftsmen. The 
Duke de la Rochefoucauld-Liancourt notes 

(1795-7)- 

" From the mill I crossed the river and 

the woods to dine with Dr. Warton, who 
resides about a mile from Wilmington, on 
the road to Philadelphia. The most com- 
mon trees in these woods are the oak, the 
chestnut, and the hickory. Cedars, known 
in England by the name of Virginian, are 
likewise found in abundance; also Scotch 
pine trees. Lord's pines and firs. The ce- 
dar wood is commonly used for supporters to the rails with 
which the fields are enclosed. The houses are also covered 
with planks of cedar. . . • There were eight of us at 
dinner ; everything which we used was the produce of his 
own (Dr. Warton's) farm: even the table cloth, which 
was fabricated of the flax grown on his own grounds, and 
the table, which was made of a very beautiful wood, 
cut on his own estate, as smooth and finely veined as 
mahogany. . . . The woods in the States of Delaware 
and Maryland produce no other trees than are found in 

S99 




MAHOGANY 
PORTE-MANTEAUX 

From New Orleans. 
See page 605. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Pennsylvania and Virginia. Oaks of every species abound 
in them, many of which are large and compact in the 
grain. They are used in carpenter^s work, and furnish a 
great article of exportation. The black walnut tree, which 
also abounds in these woods, is much used by cabinet- 
makers, and makes beautiful furniture." 

Ira Allen in his History of Vermont (1798) mentions 
the butternut tree as being used for wainscoting and says 
the white, the black, the red and the swamp oak arc " all 
useful in civil and nautical architecture.** 

Timothy D wight (1810-1811) notes that in New 
England the " Black Birch is used for furniture of various 
kinds," and says, " the wood of the Butternut is very hand- 
some in furniture." 

The mahogany desk after the Sheraton style, given on 
page 601, belonged originally to Mrs. Joshua Grainger 
Wright, of Wilmington, N. C, and is now owned by her 
great-grandson, S. M. Boatwright, Esq., of that city. The 
little drawers and pigeon-holes at the top are placed behind 
a tambour shutter. Another instance of tambour work oc- 
curs in a sideboard on page 498. It may be interesting 
to quote here Sheraton's own definition : 

" Tambour tables, among cabinet-makers, arc of ^two 
sorts — one for a lady or gentleman to write at ; and an- 
other for the former to execute needlework by. The 
Writing Tambour Tables are almost out of use at present, 
being both insecure and liable to injury. They are called 
Tambour from the cylindrical forms of their tops, which 
are glued up in narrow strips of mahogany and laid upon 
canvas, which binds them together, and suffers them, at the 
same time, to yield to the motion their ends make in the 
curved groove in which they run, so that the top may be 

600 




fHKSI-UPON-CHEST 

■y ihi Xfiiirhawk fiimily i miu by the Re-v. John Sparha-iuk •Jnnit, Pbiiadelphm, fa. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



brought round to the front, and pushed at pleasure to the 
back again, when it is required to be open. Tambour 
Tables are often introduced in small pieces of work when 
no great strength or security is required." 

The number of na- i 

tive workmen was very 
considerable. In 1789, 
the Boston Directory 
contains the following 
names of those engaged 
in various branches of 
furniture manufacture: 

Jos. Adams, Geo 
Acres.Thomas and Rich. 
Bright, Samuel Blake, 
Moses Bass, Jno. Bright, 
George Bright, Wm. 
Callender, Thomas Car- 
ter, John Cogswell, 
Wm. Dogget, Wm. 
Doak, Alex. Edwards, 
Joseph Francis, Moses 

Grant, Abm. Hayward, John How, Simon Hall, Jno. Jar- 
ves, Seth Kingman, John Larkin, Martin T. Minot, Benj. 
Page, Ebenezer Ridgeway, John Simpkins, Samuel Staf- 
ford, Josiah Simpson, Thomas Sherburne, John Skilling, 
Ziphion Thayer, Isaac Vose, Ebenezer Waters. 

Seven years later, we find the following additional 
names : 

Samuel Adams, E. Breed, W. Bright, Thomas Bright, 
Josiah Burnstead, James Campbell, Edw. Cary, Thomas 
Down, Thomas Foot, John Forrest, Jesse Foster, Guild & 




1. Joihui Gtainger Wright, now hj ber 
n. S. M. BdCwright, En)., Wilnunecon, 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Adams, Hall & Bisbe, Edw. Hall, Sewel Hall, John Hay- 
ward, Edmond Hay, David Hendrkk, John Holland, 
Thomas Howe, Howe & Alexander, James Kclsa, Eb. 
Knowlton, Elisha Leanard, Thomas Lilhi, Thomas Lucas, 
Wm. M'Donald, Thomas Needham, John Orr, Orr & 
Sewall, Edw. Q^ Richards, Wm. Seaver, John Seymour, 




SOFA IN THB SHERATON 5TYLB 
Owned bf Stcplua Oimd ; now in Gincd ColkgE, PUIaddplua. See pigc 590. 

Simeon Skilling, Samuel Skilling, Ebed. Sprague, Samuel 
Stone, Stone & Alexander, Vose & Todd, Moses Ward, 
Nath. Warner, Edward Waters, Thomas Wilkinson. 
In 1796, the Baltimore cabinet-makers were: 
William Brown, Alexander Brown, Walter Crook, 
James Davidson, Henry Davy, William Elwes, Jean 
Gainnier, William Harris, Hicks & Law, Gerard Hop- 
kins, William Hornby, Gualter Hornby, John James, 
Samuel James, Isaac Johns, Samuel Lee, Charles Linder- 
berger, James Martin, Thomas McCabe, John Moreton, 
William Patteson, Warwick Price, William Sellers, Sim- 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

mund & Crook, Thomas Weatherstrand, and Wilkinson 
& Smith. 

The Windsor-chair makers were John AUvine, Jacob 
Cole, Caleb Hannah, Reuben League, John Miller, and 
John Oldham ; Richard Sweeny, John Earman, and Cole 
& Brothers were chair-makers. Barroux & Poirrier were 
upholsterers ; William Farris, looking-glass carver and 
gilder ; Hand & Barber, portrait painters, gilders and 
glaziers ; and James Smith & Co., picture-frame makers, 
gilders and carvers. 

In 1 8 1 o, the cabinet-makers were : W. Camp, Walter 
Crook, Henry Davy, Charles Demange, John Denmead, 
Edward Dorsey, Aime Dubois, William Freeman, Francis 
Guignard, Thomas Hines, Walter Hornby, Nathaniel 
Hynson, Michael Jenkins, Anthony Law, Christian Looky, 
James Merriken, Samuel Minskey, John Morton, John 
Parr, Samuel Passmore, William Patterson, William Phil- 
ips, Thomas Poe, W. Price, Edward Priestley, John Reid, 
William Seller, Andrew Simmons, Mr. Stevenson, Peter 
Stitcher, John B. Taylor, Lambert Thomas, Samuel West, 
Peter L. White, Joseph Wilson, and Charles Yager. The 
chair-makers were: George Cole (also spinning-wheels), 
John Coleman, William Cornthwait, Thomas Crow, Jacob 
Dailey, Robert Davidson, John Ehrenman, Robert Fisher, 
Alexander Ingram (also painter), John King, John Old- 
ham, Thomas Oldham, Jacob Oldham and John Simonson. 
Edward Latham and Francis Younker were fancy chair- 
makers. The carvers were : John Brown, L. Churchill, 
William Garnous, John McCready, John McGoldrick, 
and George Smith (also a gilder). Ferrai & Dupin had 
a looking-glass and picture store. Mary Hill and Eliza 
Willis were upholsterers, both on Charles Street. 

603 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

In 1803, the cabinet-makers of Charleston were: 

John Artman, Patk, Burk, Jas. Clark, Charles Desel, 
John Douglas, Jas. Duddle, Hance Fairley, Wm. Gappin, 
Thos. Hemmett, Henry Julian, Geo. Horlbeck, John 

Hutchinson, Jeremiah Hutchinson, Hutley & Wood, 

Lloyd, Wm. Martin, John Marshall, Philip More, Michael 
Muckinfuss, Joshua Neville, Ben. R. Porter, Edw. Postell, 
John Prentice, Lawrence Quackinbush, Wm. Reside, Wm. 
Roberts, Jacob Sass, Jacob Thom, Wm. Thompson, Wm. 
Walker, Thomas Wallace, John Watson, Charles Watts, 
John Welsh, John Wilson, and John A. Woodhill. 

The first New York Directory (1786) contains the fol- 
lowing names: 

Thomas Ash, Windsor chair-maker ; B. Barker, watch 
and clock-maker ; J. Brower, upholsterer ; Nicholas Car- 
mer, cabinet-maker ; Daniel Cautant, Windsor-chair 
maker ; William Ellison, joiner ; Richard Green, painter, 
gilder, glazier and colourman ; Peter Garbrane, turner and 
umbrella-maker ; M. A. Gib, painter and glazier ; R. Kipp, 
upholsterer ; Lecock and Intle, Windsor-chair maker ; 
William Mooney, upholsterer ; Robert Montgomery, 
watch and clock maker ; William Piatt, paper-hanger ; 
Pearsall & Embree, watch and clock-makers ; Henry 
Ricker, cabinet-maker ; Stephen Sands, clock and watch 
maker ; J. Shelly, chair-maker ; V. Telyan, chair-maker ; 
and Richard Wenman, upholsterer. 

In 1789, the cabinet-makers were : Alexander Ander- 
son, Samuel Bell, Thomas Burling, Robert Carter, Robert 
Crookshank, Walter Degrew, Alexander Dunn, Thomas 
Fanning, James Frame, GifFord & Scotland, William 
Kidson, Isaac Nichols, Lewis Nichols, H. Ricker, James 
Ronalds, Thomas Timpson, George Titler, Thomas 

604 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Wallis and Charles Watts, the latter also musical instru- 
ment maker. There were nine Windsor-chair makers, 
and ten other chair-makers. 

The upholsterers were : Battow, Brower, John Brown, 
John Byles, Richard Kipp, jr., Richard Lloyd, John Post, 
John Rickey, John Sanxay, James Van Dyck, and Richard 
Wenman. Isaac Steymets was an embroiderer ; and Law- 
rence Lacey was a " mahogany sawer." 

A carved mahogany porte-manteauxj or clothes-rack, 
with branches ending in swans' necks, appears on page 599. 
It is probably about the same date as the sofa on page 649. 
This piece comes from New Orleans. 

The mahogany chest-upon-chest, with original brass 
escutcheons and key-plates, and the Heppelwhite chair 
facing page 600, are owned by the Rev. John Sparhawk 
Jones, Philadelphia. The first is a piece originally owned 
by the Sparhawk family (see page 334). 

A china cabinet, which, like the bookcase on page 6 1 7, 
contains inlaid medallions of the eagle and stars, which 
determine its period, is represented on page 607. In 
this example, these ovals occur above the legs. The 
cabinet for china is a part of this piece of furniture resting 
upon the back of the table and steadied by two tapering 
front legs. The chair, also of mahogany, is a Chippendale 
pattern. These pieces belong to William B. Willson, Esq., 
Baltimore, Md. 

The table represented on page 629 is chiefly interest- 
ing on account of the slab, which is of slate surrounded 
with an inlaid Chinese design. It was originally a writ- 
ing-table for a merchant and was brought into this country 
on one of George Crowninshield's Salem vessels during 
the war of 181 2, when privateering was not considered 

605 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

illegal in this country. It was inherited by Mrs. Edward 
C. Pickering, Observatory, Cambridge, Mass. 

In 1818, Henry B. Fearon, who visited America to 
report conditions here to prospective emigrants, gives an 
interesting account of the state of the cabinet-makers' 
business in New York: 

" The timber, or (as the term is here) lumber yards 
are not on that large and compact scale with which, in 

England, our friends C and M are familiar. 

Mahogany yards are generally separate concerns. Oak 
boards are this day ^5-12.-6. per thousand feet. Shingles 
(an article used instead of tiles or slates), ^1-2.-6. per 
thousand feet, to which is to be added a duty of fifteen 
per cent. Honduras mahogany is five-pence halfpenny to 
seventeen pence farthing the superficial foot; and St. 
Domingo, ninepence three farthings to seventeen pence, 
halfpenny. Mahogany is used for cupboards, doors, and 
banisters, and for all kinds of cabinet-work. Curl maple, 
a native and most beautiful wood, is also much approved. 
Veneer is in general demand, and is cut by machinery. 
Chests of drawers are chiefly made of St. Domingo mahog- 
any, the inside being faced with boxwood : shaded veneer 
and curl maple are also used for this purpose. I would 
remark, that the cabinet-work executed in this city is light 
and elegant — superior indeed, I am inclined to believe, to 
English workmanship. I have seen some with cut-glass 
instead of brass ornaments, which had a beautiful eflfect.** 
[ft is interesting to find contemporary testimony of the in- 
troduction of glass handles on furniture, as they were novel 
to Mr. Fearon, and he evidently was not ill-informed on 
the general subject of cabinet-making. This notice would 
seem to establish the fact that glass handles were an Ameri- 

606 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

can innovation. Examples of furniture on which they 
occur are given on page 608, and facing page 608. The 
lirst is a large sideboard of dark mahogany belonging to 
Mrs. William Young, Baltimore, Md. The capitals and 




CHINA CABINET AND CHAIR 
Owned bjr Williim B. Wil»n, Eiq., Ballirao™, Md. Sm pige 605. 

bases of the columns and the feet are enriched with brass. 
Upon this piece of furniture stands an array of exceptional 
old family silver that belonged to the Gilmors of Mary- 
land. The other, a handsome mahogany chest of drawers 
and dressing-table, preserved in the rooms of the Albany 
Institute and Historical and Art Society, is somewhat 
similar in design to the one facing page 144. This, 
however, is more elaborate, being decorated with brass 
work of very delicate chiselling. The scroll supports of 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




MAHOGANY SIDEBOARD 
Owned by Mn. WilUam Yuung, Ballimure, Md. See pifc 607 

the mirror are gilded, but chiselled brass appears on the 
bases and capitals of the columns. A more beautiful 
ormoulu mount decorates the long round drawer above the 
two large drawers, and a finely chiselled brass crescent is 
placed above each of the six crystal knobs. The latter 
were probably later additions.] 

Mr. Fearon continues : " The retail price of a three 
feet six-inch chest of drawers, well-finished and of good 
quality, is 3^. 1 6s. 6d. ; of a three feet ten, with brass roll- 
ers, 5^. 8s. A table, three feet long, four and a half wide, 
2£. 7s. 6d. ; ditto with turned legs, 4,;^. 5s. 6d. ; three and 




MAHOGANY CHEST-OF-DRAWERS AND DRESSING-TABLE 
Ov/ntd by tbi Albany initilult and HularUal and Art Sic'tttj. Sft fagri 607-i. 



ttll 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

a half long, five and a half wide (plain), 3^, 12s.; ditto, 
better finished, ^j[. los.; ladies' work tables (very plain) 
1 8s. Cabinet-makers' shops, of which there are several in 
Greenwich-street, contain a variety, but not a large stock. 
They are generally small concerns, apparently owned by 
journeymen, commenced on their own account. These 
shops are perfectly open, and there is seldom any person in 
attendance. In the centre a board is suspended with the 
notice * Ring the bell.' I have conversed with several 
proprietors : they state their business to have been at one 
time good, but that there is now too much competition. 

** Chair-making here, and at the town of Newark, ten 
miles distant, is an extensive business. The retail price of 
wooden chairs is from 4s. 6d. to 9s.; of curl maple with 
rush seat, iis.; of ditto with cane seat, 13s. 6d. to i^. 2s. 
6d.; of ditto, most handsomely finished, i;^. 9s.; sofas, of 
the several descriptions enumerated above, are the price of six 
chairs. I have seen in parlours of genteel houses, a neat 
wooden chair, which has not appeared objectionable, and 
of which the price could not have exceeded 9s. Cabinet- 
makers, timber-merchants, and builders complain — they all 
say that their trades have been good, but that there is now 
a great increase in the numbers engaged, and that the times 
are so altered with the merchants that all classes feel the 
change very sensibly. These complaints I believe to be 
generally well-founded; but I do not conceive the de- 
pression to be equal to that felt in England. I would also 
make some deduction from their supposed amount of griev- 
ances. When did you ever know a body of men admit, or 
even feel, that they were doing as much trade, as in their 
own estimation they ought? or who did not think that 
there were too many in their particular branches } Every 

609 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

individual desires to be a monopolist, yet no wise legislator 
would ever exclude competition, 

" A good cabinet-maker, who should have no more than 
an hundred pounds after paying the expenses of his voyage, 
would obtain a comfortable livelihood ; as would also an 
active speculating carpenter or mason, under the same 
circumstances. A greater amount of capital would, of 
course, be more advantageous/' 

Curl, or curled maple, of which Mr. Fearon speaks 
with such enthusiasm, is used with great effect as pillars 
upon a chest-of-drawers facing page 6 1 6, that is composed 
of dark mahogany. The capitals of the pillars are deli- 
cately carved. The piece belongs to Mrs. Charles S. Fair- 
child in New York. On the same plate is represented 
another chest-of-drawers, also mahogany, owned by Mrs. 
Henry Wysham Lanier. This is handsomely carved with 
pineapples and leaves. This model came into fashion about 
1820. The front of the top drawer frequently let down 
and revealed a desk. This probably was the way in which 
the word bureau gradually came to include a chest-of- 
drawers even when it contained no desk. We find the 
following advertisements in the American papers: 

" French dressing - bureau and toilet - glass (1823), 
French dressing-bureaus, ladies' dressing-tables, a * toilet 
bureau,' 1823; French pillar and column bureaus with 
toilets complete, 1824 ; ladies' writing secretaries and dress- 
ing-bureaus, dressing toilets with glasses, 1824; award- 
robe with centre dressing-bureau, toilets with hanging 
wardrobes, 1826; ladies' superb dressing-bureaus and toilets 
with glasses, 1826." 

The mahogany dressing-glass on page 611 belonged 
originally to Miss Elizabeth Van Rensselaer, and is dated 

610 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



on the back 1786. The handles are lion's heads and 
mouths holding a ring, and are probably original. This 
is now in the Glen-Sanders house, Scotia, N. Y. 

In 1820, De Witt Clinton, writing from Canandai- 
gua, says : " All wood that is susceptible of a fine polish 

will make good furniture, 
and where the texture is 
compact and the grain fine 
and concentrated, a polish 
can be made, an almost 
invariable accompaniment. 
I have been not a little sur- 
prised at the extravagance 
of the Americans in im- 
porting mahogany, satin- 
wood, etc., for cabinet work, 
when they have as good, 
if not better, materials at 
home. I find cabinet-makers 
in full employ all over this 
country, and it is an occu- 
pation which deserves en- 
couragement It adds greatly to our comfort to sit 

down at a table which reflects like a mirror — ^and I 
always judge of the housewifery of the lady of the man- 
sion by the appearance of the sideboard and tables. But 
to return to my subject. 

" I went yesterday to a cabinet-maker's shop, and I 
was surprised at the variety and elegance of the furniture, 
chairs and sidfeboards, tables, book-cases and bureaus, of 
walnut, maple and wild cherry, which would, with a com- 
petent polish, excel the furniture made of imported wood.*' 




DRESSING-GLASS 

Owned originally by Elizabeth Van Reniselaer and 
dated 1786; now in the Glen-Sandert House, 
Scoda, N. Y. See above. 



\ 



611 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Philadelphia was at least equal, if not superior, to any 
other American town in the manufacture of household 
goods. Her stoves and Windsor chairs were especially re- 
nowned. Even in Boston, in 1787, we find a certain 
Ebenezer Stone advertising : " Green Windsor chairs of 
all kinds equal to any imported from Philadelphia. Chairs 
taken in and painted. N. B. English and West India 
goods taken in payment.'* 

In 1785, the cabinet-makers of Philadelphia were as 
follows : 

Joseph Allen, William Bromewell, Thomas Brown, 
Isaac Barnet, Thomas Bowen, Bartholomew Baker, Bryan 
and Nicholson, Samuel Claphamson, Adam Cressmon, John 
Douglass, Kearns Dowling, Joseph Dilvan, David Evans, 
Elfrith and Clarke, Josiah Elfrey, John Easther, William 
Edward, Alexander Frazer, Ford and Aitken, Christian 
Fox, Conrad Feerman, Jonathan Gostellow, Thomas 
George, Daniel Hayes, Edward Hargery, Christian Kearne, 
Leonard Kislar, John Kreider, Peter Lesler, Nicholas 
Lloyd, Benjamin Lyndall, John Meyers, William Moore, 
John Miller, Richard Palmer, William Rigby, George 
Shaw, John Savidge, Samuel Sime, John Townsend, 
Thomas Tuft, Daniel Trotter, Sr. and Jr., Francis Triem- 
ble, Andrew Vowiller, John Webb, Sr. and Jr., James 
Watkins, Jacob Wayne, Sr. and Jr., William Wayne, Sa- 
rah Williams, Jacob Winnemore, and Samuel Walton. 

The Windsor-chair makers were : William Coxe, 
Ephraim Evans, Benjamin Freeman, John Litchworth, 
Thomas Miller, Jacob Martin, John Sprowsan, Frances 
Trumble, William Weddifield, Wear and Cubbin, and 
John Willis. Chair-makers were George Burford, Rid- 
ding Cobly, Paul Hover, Robert Jones, Davenport Mar- 

612 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

riot, wheel and chair-maker ; William Savery, and Joseph 
Trotter, John Elliott was a looking-glass and medicinal 
merchant, and James Reynolds, a carver and gilder. 

At this date, the trade was so important that a publica- 
tion called The yourneymerCs Cabinet and Chair-makers^ 
Philadelphia Book of Prices was issued. From the second 
edition (1795), if we extract some of the detailed prices, 
we can form a very clear idea of the work that local 
cabinet-makers produced. It will be noticed that, al- 
though Heppelwhite's book had been out only six years, 
many of the descriptions apply to his designs. 

EXTRA PRICES FOR SATTIN AND OTHER WOODS 

All work either solid, or veneerd with 
Sattin or Manilla-wood, to be extra in 
the pound from Mahogany calculated £. s. d. 
with all the work on it except ban try, . 0-2-6 

Safico or Havannah, " " " • 0-3-0 

King, tulip, rose, purple, snake, zebra, 
Alexandria, panella, yew, maple, etc., 
ditto, etc., ditto, .... 0-4-0 

The joints in the same to be paid the 
same as Mahogany, .... 

All Pine work deduct in the pounds . . 0-2-6 

Cedar Clothes Shelves or drawers to be 

extra from poplar or gum, each . . 0-0-6 

When the inside of furniture of Secretary 
drawers is made of Cedar, to be extra 
in the Shilling, .... 0-0-2 

A cornice frame made to take to pieces 

for packing for bookcases, &c., extra, . 0-2—6 

ditto for a Library, etc., . . . 0-5-0 

Common or Miter Clamping when mor- 
ticed to be double, the price of clamping 
with a groove. 

613 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



PRICE OF PUTTING ON BRASS WORK / g J 

Common casters, each • . . • 0-0-2^ 
Letting in the plate of ditto, . . . 0-0- 1 
Socket, castors when the legs are tapered 

to fit in per set, .... 0-1-2 

Ditto when the legs are shoulder'd . 0-1-5 

Ditto on table claws, each castor, . • o-o-6j^ 
Iron or brass rollers at per pair, . . 0-0-8^ 
Fitting on a drawer lock, . • . 0-0- Sj4 

Ditto a Box lock, 0-1-5 

Letting in the plate of ditto, . . . 0-0-2 J^ 
Common handles, each, or rings, . . 0-0-2 J^ 
Letting in the nuts, each . . . 0-0-2^ 

Putting on a patent Lock, extra from 

Common ditto, .... 0-2-0 

Lifting handles, each pair, . • . 0-1-4 
Socket rings, each, .... 0-0-5^ 

Pendant rings, each, .... 0-0- 1 
Letting in Escutcheon, each, . . 0-0-2^ 

Fixing on Center quadrants, each, • . 0-3-6 
Letting in plates for rods in the top of 

sideboards, each plate, 
A triangle on a pillar and claw table, or 

stand, 

Ditto when four claws, .... 
Making Holly Escutcheons, each . 
Ditto Ivory, each 

BEDSTEADS 

A Cott Bedstead, 

A low popular ditto with four screws, . 0-13-0 
If with eight screws, extra, . . . 0-2-0 
If Button-wood, extra, .... 0-1-6 
A field Bedstead of Poplar, the roof 
sloped each way, .... 
If Button-wood, extra, . • • . 

614 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

£. 9. d. 

Plinthing each post, .... o-i-o 

Therming each post out of the solid, . o-i-ioj^ 
A plain high post poplar bedstead, the 

posts turned at the bottom part, , 0-18—6 

If Button-wood, extra, .... 0-2-j 




LOW CASE OF DRAWERS 



A plain Mahogany high post bedstead . 1-4-6 
A Mahogany field bedstead, sloped roof, 1-7-0 
Plinthing each post, .... 0-1-6 

Therming each post out of the solid, . 0-2-3 
An Ogee roof for field bed, extra from 

sloped, ...... 0-5-0 

A circular roof from ditto extra from 

sloped, ...... 0-4-0 

Making a sloped roof separate from bed- 
stead, 0-6-0 

615 



O-O-J 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

£• s. d. 
Each pully in rails of high post bedstead, 

Each Astragal miter'd round the posts 
above the framing, 

Cornices to be paid for according to time. 

Each inch longer than 6 feet and wider 
than four feet between the joints. 

Reeding a pair of posts, 5 reeds, each post 

Ditto with 7 reeds in Ditto, . 

Ditto with nine reeds, .... 

Ditto with eleven reeds. 

Ditto with 13 reeds, .... 

For the price of fluting posts (see table of 
Ditto). 

Colouring and polishing a high post bed- 
stead, ...... 0-4—1 



0-0-2 

O-II-O 

0-14-0 

0-17-0 

I-O-O 

1-2-0 



CHAIRS 



A plain Bannister chair cover'd over the 
rail, either block'd or braced, no holes 
in the bannister, straight seat, no low 
rails, .'.... 0-11-9 



EXTRAS 

Each hole in the bannister, 
Each ditto in the top rail. 
Each hole in upright or cross splatts, 
Each scroll in the bannister, . 
Each scroll in upright or cross splats. 
Each scroll in top rail or back foot, 
Each square in bannister or splatts. 
Each ditto in the top rail or hollow, to 

form a break, . . . . . 
Each nail'd block in corner of chair seats 

extra from common blocks, 
A serpentine or circular front, 
Sweep side-rails, ..... 

616 



0-0-2^ 

0-0-4 

0-0-2}^ 



H 



0-0-6 



,j 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 




BUOKCASE AND SECRETARY 
Owned by R. T, H. H^y, Ew),, New York, See pige 613. 



A loose seat straight, 
Ditto with circular front, 
Ditto with serpentine, 
If with sweep side rails, extra, 
617 



0-3-0 
0-4-0 
0-5-0 
0-1-3 



y» 



0-0-4 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

£• s. d. 
Low rails to Ditto, .... 0-3-9 

If no back rail deduct, . 

Veneering the back side of each rail, 

Ditto the top edges of each, . 

Each slip between the back feet with a 
bead on each side, 

Ditto a toad back moulding, . 

Tonguing each stay rail together, in chairs^ 

If dovetailed, 

For tapering, plinthing, therming, mould- 
ing, or panneling the feet (see tables of 
Ditto). 

Sawing out back feet of i ^ stuff, each cut 

Ditto of 2 inches, each Ditto, 

Ditto "2^ inches, each Ditto, 
" 3 inches, " 
front feet, each cut. 

Sawing seat serpentine front, rails, each 

cut, . 0-0-3 

Ditto a circular front or sweep side rails, 

each cut, ...... 0-0-2^ 

Ditto a circular front with hollow corners, 0-0-3 J^ 
Mortising the back feet through, each 

chair, ...... 0-0-6 

A splatt back chair with three cross splatts, 

made for stuffing over the rail. 
Straight seat, no low rails, . • . 0-13-0 
Sawing out each top rail or splatt, . . 0-0-2^ 



0-0-2 J^ 
0-0-3 




« 



€€ 



A SPLATT BACK CHAIR 

Honeysuckle pattern, made for stuffing 

over the rail, straight seats, no low rails, 0-14-6 

A Heart back stay rail Chair, with a ban- 
nister and two upright splatts, straight 
seat, made for stuffing over the rail, no 
low rails, 0-15-8 



618 



I 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



£. s. d. 
0-16-0 
0-0-2 



0-16-6 



A STAY RAIL CHAIR 

With serpentine top rail and five upright 
splatts, straight seat made for stuffing 
over the rail, no low rails, . 

Rounding the back side of each splatt, . 

With three upright splatts, straight seat, 
made for stuffing over the rails, no low 

IaUS, •••••• 

A VASE BACK STAY RAIL CHAIR 

With serpentine top and three upright 
splatts, or bannister in Ditto, straight 
seat made for stuffing over the rails, 0-15-6 

A SQUARE BACK CHAIR 

With a hollow cornered top rail and 
straight seat, three upright splatts, a 
bannister in ditto made for stuffing over 
the rail, ...... 

A SQUARE BACK CHAIR 

With straight top and stay rail, three up- 
right splatts, straight seat, made for 
stuffing over the rail, 

If the top and stay rail are sweeped in 
the front, extra, .... 

If the above is made with a long vase 
splatt in the middle, and an arch in the 
top rail to be extended between two 
outside splatts, extra. 

Diminishing each back foot with a hollow 
front, the seat rail up extra from plain 



0-15-0 



0-14-0 



0-0-4 



0-0-9 



Laper, • . . • . 


0-0-2 


ELBOWS FOR CHAIRS 




The old scrolled elbow. 


. 0-10-6 


Plain twisted ditto. 


. 0-11-6 


Plain elbows, .... 


0-9-6 


Moulding the elbows, . 


. 0-3-0 


619 





THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 



French elbows for straight side rail, the 
elbows mortised on stump of front foot, 

If to sweep side rails extra, 

A close stool in an elbow chair, 

For extra depth of framing and scrolling 
the rails, 

EASY CHAIRS 

An easy chair frame, plain feet, no low 

I Alls, •••••• 

A Commode front, .... 

A Close stool in ditto, .... 
A framed seat extra, .... 
Plowing and tonguing ends of loose seat. 
Square clamping, Ditto, 
Low rails to ditto, . . • • 

SOFAS AND EXTRAS 

A plain sofa with six feet, no low rails, six 

feet long, with fast back. 
Each inch longer, .... 

A sweep front rail, .... 

A sweep top rail, ..... 

A SQUARE BACK MAHOGANY SOFA 

Five feet long, with six feet to ditto, no 
low rails, straight seat, 

A sweep front rail with hollow corners, . 

If with a hollow corner'd top rail, . 

An arch in the top rail to answer the 
arches in square back chairs, extra from 
straight, ...... 

Plain mahogany elbow to ditto. 

Each inch longer than five feet, 

CABRIOLE SOFA 

A Cabriole sofa five feet long with plain 
feet, no low rails, .... 

620 



£» s. d. 

0-13-6 

0-3-0 

0-7-6 



1-5-0 



0-7-6 
0-2-0 
0-0-9 
0-1-5 
0-4-0 



1-8-0 

0-0-2' 

0-2-0 



I-IO-O 

0-3-6 

^3-9 



0-2-6 
0-11-6 
0-0-25^ 



2-1-0 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

£. s. d. 
Each inch longer, .... 0-0-4 

Tapering, plmthing, therming, moulding, 

etc., see plain bannister chair. 
Planting mahogany on top edge of back, 0-8-3 




MAHOGANY CHEST OF DRAWERS 
In cht house of Mt. Chirlej R. WjMn, Silem. S« pigi 



Running the mouldings on ditto, . 0-9-0 
A crossband and astragal round front and 

ends, ...... 0-9-3 

An astragal above the band extra, . . '^>-3-$ 

Low rails to ditto, .... o— i— 10 

Polishing all backs of chairs with wax to 

be paid for according to time. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The mahogany chair facing this page has a back of 
graceful design richly carved, and belongs to the early 
Chippendale school (see pages 148 and 447), but the 
legs and feet are peculiar, ending in the dog's claw, above 
vsrhich the hair is indicated. The line of the leg is quite 
different to the cabriole spring, and the arms are also less 
bowed than in the ordinary Anglo-Dutch model. This 
criticism also applies to the model of the cellaret, or wine- 
cooler at its side. This is also of mahogany bound with 
three heavy brass bands. The carving of the legs and the 
base as well as the large daisy on the top of the cellaret is 
carefully executed. These pieces belong to Mrs. Andrew 
Symonds, Charleston, S. C. So much has been said re- 
garding the case of drawers so often erroneously called 
" high-boy " and " low-boy" (see page 342), that a descrip- 
tion of the one on page 6 1 5 belonging to Miss Susan Prin- 
gle, is unnecessary. We may call attention to the fact 
that this has but two drawers and simple early hoof feet 
which generally characterize these specimens. The ring- 
handles of brass belong to a later period. 

Bookcases before the Revolution were generally large. 
In the Charleston Morning Posty July 27, 1786, we learn: 
" To be sold by public auction. ... A very complete 
bookcase, 8 feet wide and 9 feet high ; the upper part in 
three pieces, kept together by a beautiful cornice. For 
taste, elegance and workmanship, this piece is not ex- 
ceeded by any in the State." 

The above mentioned bookcase was doubtless similar 
to the one that appears on page 150, the dimensions of 
which are 8 ft., 4 in. long; 1 1 ft. high; 2 ft., 4 in. deep; 
and the upper portion, 7 ft. 9 in. high. 

Christian, cabinet-maker, 35 Wall Street, has, in 1814, 

6ai 




CARVKl) MAHOGANY CHAIR AND CKI.I.ARKl' 
(MvnrJ h} Mri. AnJreiv SimtiiJj, Charliilan, S, C. Sii fiit-r ('JJ. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

" a superior library case, 8 feet long, by 9 feet, 6 inches 
high." 

A bookcase — the panes of which are in the style of 
Chippendale and Heppelwhite — and secretary is represented 
on page 617. This belongs to R. T. H. Halsey, Esq., 
of New York. It is of mahogany with simple brass 
handles. The chief interest of this piece lies in the 
small inlaid oval in the centre of the flap, representing an 
eagle surrounded by thirteen stars, which alone shows 
that it dates after the Revolution and is of native manu- 
facture. This ornament frequently occurs on the legs of 
card-tables, etc., made after the Federal Government was 
established. 

We have spoken of the change of* style from the 
carved oak period and how the bombe shapes became popu- 
lar (see pages 195, 256, and 405). The picture on 
page 621 of a mahogany chest-of-drawers in the home of 
Mr. Charles R. Waters, Salem, Mass., gives an excellent 
idea of the swelling line that is known as bombe [bomber; 
to bulge, to jut out). This piece is decorated with hand- 
some brass escutcheons and key-plates, stands on short 
cabriole legs, with the eagle's claw holding the ball and 
has a carved shell at its base. 

In judging old furniture, the buyer has to be on his 
guard against many tricks of the trade. Most of these are 
directed towards giving an appearance of antiquity to the 
pieces. The novice should be particularly suspicious of 
carved oak. Walnut juice is frequently used by dealers to 
stain oak a deep tone ; but oak of moderate age is brown 
and not black, and much of the blackness, which is only 
the result of dirt and smoke, can be washed oflF. New oak 
can also be darkened by a solution of old iron in hot 

^3 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

vinegar, after which it is oiled and polished. Worm holes 
in oak, which contribute to the "antique** appearance, 
are also "faked." Nitric acid and tiny holes bored with 
an auger make an excellent imitation of the work of ants 
and worms. There are many workmen in Europe em- 
ployed solely in boring such holes in counterfeit "an- 
tiques," and Parisian dealers have also been accused of 
riddling the wood with fine bird-shot and of utilizing 
worms to do the work. It is also said that furniture which 
has to be several centuries old is beaten with cudgels and 
mallets. Sometimes, too, carved oak is roughly coated 
with white paint, which is dried in the sun and washed 
with potash, which removes the paint in patches, reveal- 
ing tempting glimpses of ornate carving. As old carved 
panels were frequently painted over during the last two 
centuries, the novice is ready to believe the dealer's tale of 
a valuable " find." The plainer an oak piece is, the more 
likely it is to be genuine, for comparatively little furni- 
ture of two hundred years ago was richly decorated : 
sumptuous articles were reserved for the wealthy class. 
Therefore, the amateur, when buying carved oak, must 
examine carefully the designs and beware of purchasing, 
for example, a " German or Flemish piece of the four- 
teenth century" with Renaissance ornaments; he may 
well be suspicious of any sixteenth or seventeenth century 
carving representing Biblical subjects in correct Oriental 
costume : the figures would appear in such contemporary 
clothing as the carver was familiar with. It is very im- 
portant that the amateur collector should study the forms 
and devices of ornamentation peculiar to different periods 
and to individual designers. It is only by such acquired 
knowledge that he will be able to accord a proper or ap- 

6%^ 




BOOKCASE AND DESK 

OwneJ hy Mr. Rtbrri A Boil, Boilaa, M,iii. Set pagt ^8s. 



1 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

proximate date to any article, while his common sense will 
afford him protection against unscrupulous dealers' legends. 
On pages 1 8-20 a general description of the ornaments 
and construction of the Elizabethan and Jacobean furni- 





CHAIRS IN THE SHERATON STYLE 
Owned by Stephen Giraid ; now in Giritd College, Philadelphii, See pige 590. 

ture has been given, and the pictures given in Parts I. 
and III. of carved oak, and furniture contemporary with it, 
will enable the amateur to classify any similar pieces that 
he may discover. He will also be able to ascertain the 
proper use of cane, rush, leather and damask for the seats 
and backs of chairs of this period. He will also note ex- 
amples of transitional styles (see chairs on pages 4, 65, 
69, 101, 184, 186 and 240) that lead to the Anglo- 

fi>5 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Dutch (see chairs on page 277) and the so-called " Chip- 
pendale " furniture, referred to on pp. 68, 194, 256 and 
276-8, and be enabled to follow the history of that furni- 
ture in which the curve forms the outline until the 
straight lines dominate under Louis XVI. and Sheraton. 
He will also appreciate that the abused word "Co- 
lonial " cannot be applied to any furniture dating after 
1776 ; and that no Heppelwhite and Sheraton models 
can be called by that name. 

If the student desires to attain sufficient knowledge to 
distinguish infallibly the work of the various great makers, 
a close study of their own plates is necessary first of all. 
Chairs or sofas with the characteristic backs of one maker 
and legs of another; Chippendale carving with Empire 
ornaments ; and Louis Quatorze tables in mahogany will 
soon have no charms for him. One sometimes sees a 
somewhat elaborately carved or inlaid mahogany buffet for 
sale and designated a " Chippendale " sideboard ! Anyone 
acquainted with Chippendale's book knows that his side- 
board is merely a table. The intricacy of the design, and 
the elaborate carving, inlaid or applied work is often a 
great safeguard against counterfeiting. The skill and time 
required to reproduce even an ornate Chippendale chair 
acts as a deterrent. The copies on the market have the 
most meagre amount of hand carving and the evidences of 
machine work are discernible. The dimensions given by 
the original designers are a test that may profitably be ap- 
plied. Some of these are given on pages 638, 639, 642, 
644 and 647. 

It is not known that any of the English makers signed 
the work produced in their own shops. Many of the 
French ebenistes did so: on different pieces in South Ken- 

626 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

sington are stamped the names of Riesener, David, Pafret, 
Carlin, Garnier, Oeben, Pioniez, Denizot, Richter, Joseph, 
Deloose, Jansen and Cosson. Sometimes the prefix M. E. 
{menuisier ebeniste) occurs. However, even if a piece bore 
the stamp of T. Chippendale, its genuineness would not 
thereby be assured, for signatures may be forged as carved 
dates often are on oak chests. 

It must be remembered that Chippendale, Adam, Hep- 
pelwhite and Sheraton are almost as much generic terms 
as Boulle. Adam never made any furniture, and the only 
authentic pieces of " Adam " are those specially designed 
for particular rooms. The style, however, was copied by 
many contemporaries, and it is their productions that may 
be procured and are still highly prized. The characteris- 
tics of Adam furniture and ornaments have been described 
on pages 465—6. Chippendale has been fully discussed (see 
pages 441—450). The student must bear in mind that the 
books of designs brought out by Chippendale, Heppelwhite, 
Sheraton and others were avowedly intended for the use of 
the trade, as well as for the delectation of their own pa- 
trons. The lists of subcribers to these books include all 
the principal cabinet-makers of Great Britain, all of whom 
in consequence would supply their customers with what- 
ever was in demand. Thus Chippendale chairs were made 
by the thousand, and the only point on which the collec- 
tor can hope to be certain is whether a given chair is of 
the Chippendale period. The same applies to Heppel- 
white and Sheraton. The latter made scarcely any furni- 
ture after the publication of his first book in 1793 (see 
page 477), but the 140 cabinet-makers who subscribed to 
that publication undoubtedly made an enormous amount in 
the dozen years or so before the Empire finally supplanted 

627 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Sheraton. Heppelwhite is usually credited with the heart- 
back and shield-back chairs, but care must be taken in dis- 
tinguishing his patterns from one given by Sheraton. The 
latter's work may often be recognized by an expert in car- 
pentry, for he generally gives most minute directions for 
construction. Typical instances are as follows : 

" As high as the stuffing of the seat a rabbet should be 
left on the stump to stuff against ; which is easily done, as 
the stump is made smaller above the rail. The cushions 
on the arms are formed by cutting a rabbet in the arm, or 
leaving the wood a little above the surface. Some, how- 
ever, bring the rabbet square down at each end, covering 
the wood entirely, except a fillet, which is left at the bot- 
tom and continues round the cushion.'' 

** Bed-pillars. The pateras which cover the screw 
heads are on loose panels let into the pillars, and which 
settle down into a groove at the bottom, by which means 
they are kept in their place and easily taken out." 

Other instances of his detailed instructions occur on 
pages 478-484 and 650-652. 

The lists of materials given on pages 631—637, with 
the dates and also the cabinet-makers' own instructions, will 
be of use to the amateur in covering his treasures correctly. 
Many of the chairs represented show also the proper dis- 
tribution of brass nails. 

We can hardly understand at this day the enormous 
importance attached to draperies and the graceful festoon. 
Sheraton introduces it everywhere, especially in his later 
years ; and the Empire furniture, particularly the bed, is 
dependent upon the tent-like folds and graceful curtains of 
contrasted colours. The upholsterers vied with each other 
in producing effects, as the plates in the fashion magazines 

628 




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of the day plainly show, yet we find a contemporary critic 
uttering the following complaint : 

" In no part of his profession is the upholsterer more de- 
ficient than in the arrangement and in the forms of his 




CHINESE TABLE WITH SLATE TOP 
Owntd by Mn. Edwird C. Fickering, Otaervatnry, Cambridge, Mis 



draperies, which arises from the want of an attentive ob- 
servation of what is easy and elegant ; from this deficiency 
of knowledge we often see silk and calico tortured into 
every other form than agreeable natural drapery. The 
mystery and difficulty of cutting-out would vanish did the 
artist but apply his mind with resolution to conquer his 
established prejudices : to the workman very little knowl- 
edge is usually required beyond cutting out what is usually 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

called a festoon, the arrangement, whether for continued 
drapery or for a single window, forming the principal dif- 
ficulty ; one festoon well and properly cut out will answer 
for the whole : this difficulty once overcome, a little in- 
genuity will readily accomplish whatever else may be re- 
quired. 

" I must here observe the utter impossibility of forming 
tasteful and well flowing draperies of the stiflfened mate- 
rials at present in general use : it is nearly as practicable 
to throw buckram into easy and graceful drapery as the 
modern high glazed stiflfened calicoes ; the stiflfening must 
be dispensed with, or the utmost effort of the artist will 
be in vain. The pleasantest materials are silk and fine 
cloth. 

" For eating-rooms and libraries, a material of more sub- 
stance is requisite than for rooms of a lighter cast; and 
for such purposes, superfine cloth, or cassimere, will ever 
be the best ; the colours, as fancy or taste may direct ; yet 
scarlet and crimson will ever hold the preference.'* 

Another writer complains in 1 8 1 6 as follows : 

" Perhaps no furniture is more decorative and graceful 
than that of which draperies form a considerable part ; the 
easy disposition of the folds of curtains and other hangings, 
the sweep of the lines composing their forms, and the harmo- 
nious combinations of their colours, produced a charm that 
brought them into high repute, but eventually occasioned 
their use in so liberal a degree as in many instances to 
have clothed up the ornamented walls, and in others they 
have been substituted entirely for their more genuine dec- 
orations, by which the rooms obtained the air of a mer- 
cer's or a draper's shop in full display of its merchandize, 
rather than the well imagined and correctly designed 

630 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

apartment of a British edifice : indeed, to so great an ex- 
cess was this system of ornamental finishing by draperies 
carried, that it became the usual observation of a celebrated 
amateur in this way, that he would be quite satisfied if a 
well proportioned barn was provided, and would in a week 
convert it, by such means, into a drawing-room of the 
first style and fashion. So long as novelty favoured the ap- 
plication, this redundance was tolerated ; but time has 
brought the uses of these draperies to their proper office of 
conforming to the original design, consisting of those ar- 
chitectural combinations that possess a far greater beauty, 
dignity and variety than draperies are capable of affording." 
The materials used for upholstering in the seventeenth 
century were camak, or camoca, darnix, or dornix, or dar- 
neck, perpetuana, kitterminster, or kidderminster, serge, 
drugget, dimity, calico, camlet, calimanco or callimanco, 
plush, mohair, paduasoy, horsehair, chaney, or cheney, or 
china, Turkey-work, green cloth, crimson, worsted, red 
cloth, red damask, leather, yellow damask, shalloon, say, 
watchet, serge, linsey-woolsey, searsucker, blue and white 
cotton, fustian, silk muslin, chintz, Indian calico, tabby, 
taffety, sarcenet, damask and rateen. Camak has been 
defined on page 1 4, and darnix, perpetuana, kidderminster, 
serge, drugget, dimity and calico on page 17. In addi- 
tion to calico, there was painted calico, known as early as 
1663, for Pepys notes in his Diary : " Bought my wife a 
chint, that is a painted Indian calico, for to line her new 
study." It is strange that Chambers does not mention 
calico in the early editions of his encyclopaedia : but in the 
supplement to that of 1753 we find " callicoes are of divers 
kinds ; plain, printed, painted, stain'd, dyed, chints, muslins 
and the like." 

631 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Camblet was " a stuffsometimes of wool, sometimes silk, 
and sometimes hair ; waved camblets are those whereon 
waves are impressed as on tabbies. Tabby, a kind of 
course taffety watered. TafFety, or taffetas, a fine smooth 
silken stuff. The taffetas Noirs of Lyons are Alamode and 
Lutestring. The chief consumption of Taffeties is in 
Summer-dresses for women, in linings, scar&, coifs, win^ 
do w-cur tains &c." 

Calimanco was a glazed linen stuff; plush, a coarse 
kind of silk velvet with a thick nap ; mohair, a fabric com- 
posed of the hair of the Angora goat, mixed with silk of 
cotton warps; paduasoy, a smooth strong silk, and also 
a kind of worsted ; hair-cloth, the same as horsehair ; 
chaney or cheney, worsted, woolen, or silk stuff from China ; 
for Turkey-work see facing page 198 ; shalloon, a woollen 
stuff first made in Chalons ; say, a woollen cloth ; linsey- 
woolsey, a coarse woollen stuff; watchet, pale blue ; sear- 
sucker, a thin striped grey-and-white ridged material ; 
sarcenet, a thin silk; damask, a rich stuff made first in 
Damascus, and made in ** such manners as that which is 
not satin on one side is on the other'*; serge, a woollen 
quilted stuff manufactured on a loom with four treadles ; 
rateen, a thick woollen stuff quilled. " There are some 
rateens dressed and prepared like cloths ; others left simply 
in the hair ; and others where the hair or nap is frized. 
Rateens are chiefly manufactured in France, Holland and 
Italy; and are mostly used in linings.*' Frize, a sort of 
coarse rateen ; drugget (see page 17). There is no need 
for us to enumerate the ways in which the above materials 
are used since their frequent occurrence in the early chap- 
ters of this book has made the reader thoroughly acquainted 
with them. 

632 



11 

:i 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

In England, Queen Mary's fondness for East Indian 
goods bought the products of the Indian looms into 
fashion, and at the beginning of the eighteenth century the 
following varieties were well-known : 

Allejars, Atlasses, Addatties, Allibannies, Aubrowahs, 
Bafraes, Brawles, Bejurapauts, Betellees, Bulchauls, Byram- 
pants, Betelles, Bafts, Baguzzees, Chints, Chelloes, 
Coopees, Callowaypoose, Cuttannees, China cherrys, 
Cherriderrys, Cushlahs, Coffees, Cuttanees, Carradarries, 
Cheaconines, Chucklaes, Chowtars, Culgees, Dorcas, Deri- 
bands, Doodamies, Doorguzzees, Elatches, Emerties, Gor- 
gorans, Guinea stuffs, Gurrahs, Goaconcheleras, Gurracs, 
Gelongs, Ginghams, Humadees, Humhums, Izzarees, 
Jamdannies, Jamwars, Luckhoories, Moorees, Mulmuls, 
Mamoodies, Mahmudhiattees, Mickbannies, Negane- 
pants, Nillaes, Niccannees, Peniascoes, Pallampores, 
Photaes, Pelongs, Palampores, Paunches, Ponabaguzzees, 
Rehings, Romalls, Shalbafts, Seersuckers, Sallampores, 
Sovaguzzees, Soofeys, Seerbettees, Sannoes, Succatums, Soo- 
seys, Seerbands, Tainsooks, Terrindams, Tapsiels, Tepoys, 
Tanjeebs. 

In the first decade of the century the silken goods 
were as follows : " Silver Tishea, Pudsway, Shaggs, Tab- 
beys, Mowhairs, Grazets, Broches, Flowered Damasks, 
Flowered Lutestrings, ditto striped and plain, Sarsnets, 
Italian Mantuas, Silk Plushes, Farrendines, Shagreen, Pop- 
lins, Silk Crapes and Durants." (Durant was a variety of 
Tammy.) 

The woollen fabrics consisted of Hair and Woollen 
Camlets, Hair Plushes, Spanish and English Druggets, Serge 
Denims, Calamancoes, Russells (flowered and damask). 
Serges, Shalloons, Tammeys, Ratteens and Salapeens. 

633 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Alamode, a thin, glossy, black silk, is mentioned in 
1676 in company with "TafFaties, Sarsenets and Lutes." 

Two beautiful chairs of the Queen Anne period face 
page 628. The first is a " wing chair," with square high 
back, wide side head-rests and high arms curving out- 
wards. The legs, both back and front, are cabriole in 
shape. The date is about 1700. The second chair has a 
high back and seat covered with tapestry and edged with 
fringe. It has cabriole legs and hoof feet and the date is 
about 1 710. 

Some of the goods are mentioned in the list of 
Edward Martyn, a shopkeeper of Boston, who has the fol- 
lowing stock in 1 7 1 8 : " Striped Linceys, and Flowered 
Serges; Bay Holland Garlix and other linen Garlix and 
Dowlas ; Holland Bayes and Duck ; Musling and Cam- 
brick ; Velvet and Shalloons ; Ozenbrigs, Salbafts, and 
Bangalls; Russell, Callimanco and Stuff Lutestring; AUi- 
mode and Searsnett ; Persians and Mantua Silk ; Mohair 
and Striped Holland and Fustian and Tick ; Cherryderry 
and Grass ; Taffety and Cantaloon ; Kersey, Silk Handker- 
chiefs and Silk Crepes, Blue and Coloured Druggets, 
Calicos, blue and flowered Duroys and Sazzathees.** 

The Boston newspapers supply us with the following : 
Blue callicoes, chintzes, muzlings (1726); India damasks, 
chintzes, camblets, calimancoes and embossed serges ( 1 755); 
horsehair and brocaded silk (1757); a pair of good green 
curtains (1759); beautiful painted canvas hangings for 
rooms (1760); yellow and crimson silk damask window 
curtains (1762); worsted furniture check (1764); harra- 
teen curtains (1766); and green harrateen curtains (1773). 

** Worsted damask, rich, suitable for furniture," is im- 
ported in the Frame ; " checks for furniture" (1757) ; fur- 

634 









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CARVED ROSKWOOD CHAIR 

O-ivntJ by Chariei B. Tiernaa Eiq., Baltimnrt, MJ. Stt \a^t 63S. 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

niture and china blue calicoes ; blue and white checks for 
furniture; "flowered damasks for furniture '* (1759) ; Tur- 
key-work seats for chairs (1760) ; blue and green worsted 
damask for furniture ; " crimson, blue, green, and yellow 
harrateens with lines and tossels to suit, imported in the 
Albany and sold by Henry Remsen ; Indian gimp and 
bindings of various sorts (1762) ; bobbing and Dutch pret- 
ties for furniture, printed cottons for furniture and furni- 
ture checks, hair cloth for chair seats and stair cases ( 1 764) ; 
furniture callicoe single and in two blues, large pencilled 
do. for furniture, blue and white furniture binding " ( 1 765) ; 
printed and pencilled furniture calico, purple, dark blue, 
pompadour and fancy ground chintz ( 1 768). James Nixon, 
Queen Street, has " a good assortment of forest cloths with 
greens fit for covering tables and desks" (1768). Fine 
striped lutestring for furniture, sold by Samuel Hake, Wall 
Street (1760) ; furniture checks lines and tossels for do. ; 
blue, green, scarlet, and yellow furniture checks, blue and 
white furniture callicoe, furniture harrateens with trim- 
mings to suit, furniture cheneys with trimmings to suit 
( 1 77 1 ) ; worsted lutestrings, striped silk damask, handsome 
dark and light ground callicoes and chintzes, red and white 
copper plate furniture ; do., blue and white pencil do., 
common blue and white do., handsome red and white fur- 
niture do. ; India, English, and Patna chintzes, copper- 
plate cotton furniture, elegant chintz do., India chintzes 
for bed sprees, Marseilles quilts, red and white, blue and 
white, and red and white callicoe, binding, red and white, 
and blue and white, and purple cotton furniture (1772) ; 
Woodward and Kip near the Fly Market have " fine lay- 
lock and fancy callicoes, red, blue and purple fine copper 
plate ditto, laylock, lutestring, light, figured, fancy, shell, 

^35 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

pompadour and French ground fine chintzes. Purple, blue, 
and red copper plate furniture callicoes ; ditto furniture 
bindings, black, blue, brown, Saxon, green, pea green, yel- 
low, crimson, garnet, pink and purple moreens ; blue and 
white, red and white, purple and white furniture callicoes, 
' blue and white cotton and do. chintz furniture, red and 
white, blue and white, yellow and white, crimson and 
white, green and white furniture checks (1773); Patna 
chintzes (1774). (For the introduction of copper plate 
goods, see page 98.) 

Other upholstery goods advertised are worsted and hair 
plush (1777); drapery bays (1783); striped and plain satin 
haircloth (1790); silk damask (1791); red chintz furniture 
(1802); an elegant set of crimson damask with tassels, 
fringe, lining and binding (1803); furniture dimities, 
drapery baize, balloon corded furniture dimities (1803—4); 
furniture moreens (1808); furniture dimity (1810); furni- 
ture chintz ( 1 8 1 6); moreen damask cotton furniture ( 1 8 1 7); 
a case of superior hair seating ; a bale white bed laces, a 
bale cotton balls, handsome moreen window curtains, do. 
of chintz, dimity and silk, 60 patent spring and hair seats, 
moreen satin and other curtains (1823); black hair seating 
(1824); white cotton fringe, London furniture chintz 
(1825); scarlet, crimson, lemon and blue worsted damask 
for curtains (1825); "3 ^^^ crimson moreen window curtains, 
two sets blue and orange, two of scarlet and one pearl 
with muslin drapery, four blue moreen window curtains 
with yellow drapery, scarlet moreen window curtains ; 
500 pair green window blinds with cornices, brackets and 
tassels complete, size 3 feet to 4 feet 6 in.; i set of blue 
and yellow drapery window curtains, and 3 sets crimson 
and blue moreen window curtains" (1826). 

636 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

Harrateen was a kind of cloth made of combing wool ; 
durants or durance, a stout worsted cloth ; tammy, a cot- 
ton and worsted stuff, twilled, and also called Scotch camb- 
let. Gimp or gymp was an openwork trimming or lace, 
superseded by the French word passementerie ; and inkle 
was a kind of linen tape, braid, or lace, used as early as 
the sixteenth century; it was also a kind of crewel, or 
worsted, embroidered in floral designs. 

Some idea of the prices may be gained from the stock 
of Thomas Baxter, an upholsterer of Boston (1751), who 
had "Goods in the shop: 65^ yds. Plateen, ;;^i2i— 18— 
o; 88 yds. Allepeen, ;;^6o-3-6 ; 269 yds. Camblett, 
^137-17-3; 28 ruggs and 11 bed quilts, ;;^ 21 5-1 1-6 ; 
24 lbs. brass nails, ;;^89-i8-o; 15 lbs. girt webb, ;i{^i2; 
247 doz. curtain rings, ^15-10-0; 107^ yds. bed tick, 
^103—2—9; bed and couch bottoms, ;i^io; 7 suits cur- 
tains, £()(>\ 36 counterpins and coverlets, ^172-15-0; 
43 j4 yds. harrateen, ^34-16—0; i sett tassels and fringe 
and 14 yds. chaney, ^194— o— o ; 18 yds. harrateen, ;;^ 3 94— 
18—0; 44 J^ yds. chaney in remnants, ^25—10-0; wood- 
work for a bed, ^^25; 158 pr. blankets, ;;^49-2-6 ; i suit 
harrateen curtains, ;i^42 ; and 29 chairs and frames, ^80— 
10— o. 

We have abundant evidence in their numerous adver- 
tisements in the papers, that the American upholsterers 
kept up with the latest London and Parisian styles. 

Let us now examine the special styles of upholstering 
chairs, sofas and beds as they consecutively appear : 

We find the Turkey-work chair still in the eighteenth 
century ; cane and leather are also used for seats ; horse- 
hair and paduasoy (see page 104), blue silk camlet, blue 
chaney, mohair, yellow damask, crimson worsted, red 

637 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

china, blue leather, crimson harrateen, figured haircloth, 
hair plush, hair camlet and hair shags are also used. 
Sheraton was fond of figured silk and satin with printed 
ovals (see pages 478-480) and stripes. His chairs frequently 
matched his sofas. 

For the coverings of his chairs, Chippendale advocates 
Spanish leather or damask nailed with brass nails, tapes- 
try, needlework, cane bottoms and loose cushions ; many 
of his seats are stuffed over the rails and covered with the 
same stuff as the window curtains and ''have a Brass 
Border neatly chased, but are most commonly done with 
Brass Nails in one or two rows ; and sometimes the nails 
are done to imitate Fretwork/* 

.Sometimes the dimensions of the chairs vary to suit the 
size of the rooms ; but we find the height of the back 
seldom exceeds 22 in. above the seats. For his French 
chairs, the backs and seats of which are stuffed and cov- 
ered with Spanish leather or damask, " the seat is 27 in. 
wide from the front to the back, and 23 in. behind; the 
height of the back is 25 in. and the height of theseat, 
145^ in. including casters.*' Of his famous "Ribband- 
Back" chairs he says: "If the seats are covered with 
red Morocco, they will have a fine effect.*' 

The chair facing page 634 is an excellent example of 
fine contrasted colour; the framework is of carved rose- 
wood, a wood that again became very popular about 181 8. 
The seat and back of this chair are covered with yellow 
brocade. This chair belongs to Charles B. Tiernan, Esq., 
of Baltimore, Md., and is a family piece. 

The proportions of the Heppel white chair are : width 
in front, 20 inches ; depth of the seat, 1 7 inches ; height 
of the seat frame, 1 7 inches ; total height, about 3 feet i 

638 




CHINA CUPBOARD AND TWO SHERATON CHAIRS 

O^vntd hj Mri. Ifilliatn Ytung, Ballimere, MJ. Sit pagi 6ji). 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

inch. Other dimensions are frequently adopted, " accord- 
ing to the size of the room or pleasure of the purchaser/' 

Many elegant chairs had backs and seats of red or blue 
morocco leather, and sometimes medallions, printed or 
painted on silk of the natural colours were inserted on the 
backs, which were often circular. "Leather backs or 
^ seats should be tied down with tassels of silk or thread " 
is another instruction for the Heppelwhite chair. 

Among the examples of Heppelwhite chairs repre- 
sented on pages 461, 465 and 467, and facing 92 and 454, 
we may call attention to those on page 467, which are 
correctly upholstered, especially with regard to the brass 
nails on the chair to the left. Silk, satin, leather or horse- 
hair (striped, figured, checked or plain) are the appropri- 
ate materials for this style of chair. 

Sheraton chairs occur on pages 272 (left), 429 and 435. 

Those on pages 473 and 475 and facing 638 are cov- 
ered correctly with striped materials. In his late years, he 
made Herculaneums and " conversation chairs " (see pages 
483-4), and many curious designs. "Conversation chairs'* 
are advertised in America. (See page 539.) 

Two excellent Sheraton chairs correctly upholstered 
face page 638 in company with a "beaufait *' or china cup- 
board of much more recent date than those on pages 354 
and 363 and facing page 352. This, however, contains 
many examples of fine china tastefully arranged. One of 
the chairs is upholstered with a brocade of varied hues, 
and the other is of yellow silk and satin in stripes. These 
pieces are owned by Mrs. William Young, in Baltimore, 
Md. Another " Beaufait " appears in the room facing 
page 632. It is interesting to compare these chairs with 
those on pages 473 and 475. 

639 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

From about the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
the favourite chair was the " Fancy Chair/' This was, how- 
ever, introduced in New York as early as 1797, when 
William Challen, Fancy Chair-maker from London, 
" manufactures all sorts of dyed, japanned, wangee and 
bamboo chairs, settees, etc., and every article in the fancy 
chair line executed in the neatest manner, and after the 
newest and most approved London patterns/' 

In 1802, William Palmer, 2 Nassau Street, New York, 
advertises " a large assortment of elegant, well-made and 
highly finished black and gold, etc.. Fancy Chairs, with 
cane and rush bottoms; in 1806, William Mott, 51 
Broadway, furniture japanner, " has a large assortment of 
elegant and well-made fancy chairs of the newest patterns/' 
Richard Marsh, Greenwich Street, has the same year fancy 
and Windsor chairs for sale, and will repair, panel and 
ornament old chairs; Patterson and Dennis, 54 John 
Street, inform their friends that that they have " a large 
and very elegant assortment of Fancy chairs of the newest 
patterns and finished in a superior style. Elegant white, 
coquilicot, green, etc., and gilt drawing-room chairs, with 
cane and rush seats, together with a handsome assortment 
of dining and bedroom chairs, etc.*' 

In 181 2, Asa Holden, 32 Broad Street, has "a superb 
assortment of highly finished fancy chairs, such as double 
and single cross fret chain gold, ball and spindle back, with 
cane and rush seats, etc., of the latest and most fashionable 
patterns;" and in 18 14, he advertises again. In 18 17, 
William Shureman, 1 7 Bowery, has " fancy and Windsor 
chairs," and will paint and re-gild old chairs; in the 
same year Wharton and Davies, fancy chair manufac- 
turers, oflFer for sale an elegant assortment of curled maple 

640 



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painted, ornamented landscape, sewing and rocking chairs, 
lounges, settees, sofas, music stools, etc. In 1 8 1 9, they 
have curled maple, rosewood and fancy painted chairs and 
sofas richly ornamented in gold and bronze with hair, 
cane and rush seats. 




" FANCY " SETTEE 

Owned by Mrs. Edward Rankin at Cherry Hill^ Albany, New York. See below. 



" Fancy Chairs " have already been represented on page 
119, second from the left; and on page 475 on the right 
of the letter-case. 

A settee that was a companion to the " Fancy Chair " 
appears on this page. This belongs to Mrs. Edward Ran- 
kin at Cherry Hilly Albany, N. Y. A chair that came in 
under the Empire, and finds its origin in Egyptian and 
Greek models, quickly took the place of all the old Chip- 
pendale, Heppelwhite and Sheraton models, and held its 
own as the typical dining-room chair almost to the pres- 
ent day. This was the " Trafalgar Chair,** which received 
its name from that action, which occurred very soon after 

641 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

its introduction. The pattern, which is familiar to every- 
body, occurs facing page 562 (on the left). 

In 1 8 1 4, the fashion was : 

" Light chairs for best bedchambers (cane seats), sec- 
ondary drawing-rooms and occasionally to serve for routs. 
These may be stained black, or, as the present taste is, 
veined with vitriol, stained with logwood, and polished to 
imitate rosewood ; the seats caned.** 

Regarding sofas, Heppelwhite says their dimensions 
should vary according to the size of the room and pleas- 
ure of the purchaser, but " the proportion in general use " 
is, length between 6 and 7 feet ; depth about 30 inches ; 
height of the seat frame, 14 inches; total in the back, 3 
feet I inch. The woodwork should be either mahogany 
or japanned to suit the chairs in the room, and the cover- 
ing must match that of the chairs. Four designs of sofas 
appear in his book. 

He also gives designs for the Confidante and the Duch- 
esse, two species of sofa. Of the first he says : " This 
piece of furniture is of French origin, and is in pretty 
general request for large and spacious suits of apartments. 
An elegant drawing-room, with modern furniture, is scarce 
complete without a Confidante, the extent of which may 
be about nine feet, subject to the same regulations as sofas. 
This piece of furniture is sometimes so constructed that 
the ends take away and leave a regular sofa ; the ends may 
be used as " Barjier Chairs.'* 

Of the Duchesse, he writes : " This piece of furniture 
is also derived from the French. Two Barjier chairs of 
proper construction, with a stool in the middle, form the 
Duchesse, which is allotted to large and spacious ante- 
rooms; the covering may be various, as also the frame- 

642 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

work, and made from six to eight feet long. The stuff- 
ing may be of the round manner as shown in the drawing, 
or low-stufFed with a loose squab or bordered cushion fitted 
to each part ; with a dupHcate linen cover to cover the 
whole, or each part separately, Confidantes, sofas and 
chairs may be stuffed in the same manner." 




MAHOGANY SOFA 
y Mn. John Sparhiwk Jones, Philidelphii. See page £45. 



His graceful *' Window stools " are made of mahogany 
or they are japanned. He recommends two of his designs 
"to be covered with linen or cotton to ma'^ch the chairs." 
The covering of one is tufted and caught with buttons. 
The other has a scalloped valance edged with fringe, and 
in the centre of each scallop hangs a tiny tassel. Another 
stool he wishes japanned and covered " with striped furni- 
ture"; another, of carved mahogany, "with furniture of 
an elegant pattern festooned in front, will produce a very 
pleasing effect." Two other window stools "are particu- 
larly adapted for an elegant drawing-room of japanned fur- 
niture ; the Covering should be of taberray or morine of 
pea-green or other light colour. The size of the window 
641 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

stools ifMst be regulated by the size of the place where 
they are to stand; their heights should not exceed the 
heights of the chairs." 

Sheraton gave much attention to the sofa (see page 
48 2), One is a " Sofa done in white and gold, or ja- 
panned. Four loose cushions are placed at the back. They 
serve at times for bolsters, being placed against the arms to 
loll against. The seat is stuffed up in front about three 
inches high above the rail, denoted by the figure of the 
sprig running lengthwise ; all above that is a squab, which 
may be taken off occasionally.** 

Turkey sofas "introduced into the most fashionable 
houses" are a novelty. They are "an imitation of the 
Turkish mode of sitting. They are, therefore, made very 
low, scarcely exceeding a foot to the upper side of the 
cushion. The frame may be made of beech, and must be 
webbed and strained with canvas to support the cushions." 

Sheraton also makes the Chaise Longue^ which he says 
derive their name " long chair" from the French and " their 
use is to rest or loll upon after dinner." 

In 1 82 1, the fashionable sofa is thus described: "For 
decorations of the highest class the frame work would be 
entirely gilt in burnished and matt gold, the pillows and 
covering of satin damask or velvet, relieved by wove gold 
lace and tossels. For furniture of less splendour the frames 
would be of rosewood, with the carved work partly gilt 
and the covering of more simple materials. 

" The loom of our country is now in that advanced 
state of perfection that damasks of the most magnificent 
kind in point of intensity of colour and richness of pattern 
are manufactured at prices that permit their free use in 
well-furnished apartments." 

644 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

The four sofas appearing on pages 573, 642jj^49 and 
below are interesting studies for comparison. The one on 
page 643, owned by Mrs. John Sparhawk Jones, of Phila- 
delphia, is of the Sheraton model {see page 481). The 
Empire sofa, owned by Mrs. William Young, Baltimore, 
Md., on page 573 is a fine example of the period, with its 
metal dolphins gracefully curved along the scroll ends ; 
the third, owned by the Worcester Society of Antiquity, is 




MAHOGANY SOFA 
Owned by Mr. Thompson S. Grint, EnReld, Con 



a fine instance of the awkward, clumsy and heavy designs 
that succeeded the Empire and Grecian periods. The 
legs are particularly ungraceful ; the swan's neck is used 
as a design for the scroll ends. The fourth, owned by 
Mr. Thompson S. Grant, Enfield, Conn., is a good type 
of the sofa still familiar in many old houses, and might 
have been made anywhere from 1820 to 1840, 

Some of the most popular hangings for beds were 
crimson damask, blue, yellow, crimson and green harra- 
teen, yellow camlet lined with silk and laced, yellow 
watered worsted, crimson mohair, crimson worsted, green 

«4S 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

china^ crimson damask, yellow silk damask, wrought fus- 
tian, moreen and russell of various colours, dornix, worsted 
damask, camlet, callimanco, worked fustian, flowered dam- 
ask and russells, blue and green flowered russell damask, 
flowered tabby, and dark say. Besides the above materials, 
which were of silk or worsted, or a mixture of each, there 
was a large variety of cotton goods such as dimity, plain, 
figured and corded ; India and English chintz ; Patna 
chintz ; and many kinds of copperplate furniture, made of 
cotton stamped with pictures. The latter was imported 
from England as early as 1758 (see also page 280). For 
decoration, silk fringe and "snail trimming '' of all colours, 
gimp and inkle were used and the " lines and tossels '* that 
the upholsterers advertise so frequently after the middle of 
the century show plainly that the curtains are submitting 
to the decree of fashion. The old square valance is disap- 
pearing and the draperies are hung in festoons and orna- 
mented with conventional swags and rosettes, and drawn 
up or down by means of ingenious pullies and cords. The 
period might be termed the age of upholstery, if we may 
judge from the plates and descriptions of beds given by 
Chippendale, Heppelwhite and Sheraton alone. Chip- 
pendale gives " Dome Beds," " Canopy Beds," " Gothic 
Beds," " Chinese Beds," "Couch Beds" and "Tent Beds." 
He gives separate designs for their pillows and cornices 
carved with his favourite ornaments. Sometimes the cor- 
nices are gilt, and again " covered with the same stuff as 
the curtains," and the latter "can be made to draw up in 
drapery or to run on a rod." 

In every one of his designs, the cornice and draperies 
are very important, as is also the arrangement of the laths 
and pullies to draw up the curtains, for the latter had to 

646 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

arrange themselves into symmetrical festoons and loops 
when drawn up. He makes great use of the cord and 
tassel. As a rule, his beds are 6 ft. 7 in. long and 6 ft, 
wide; while the pillars are 8 ft. 6 in. high. The "furni- 
ture '* of all the tent bedsteads " is made to take off and 
the laths are hung with hinges for the convenience of 
folding up.** His sofas, or couch beds, were intricate : a 
design of a sofa has " a Chinese Canopy with Curtains and 
Valances tied up in Drapery, and may be converted into 
a Bed by making the front part of the seat to draw for- 
ward, and the sides made to fold and turn in with strong 
iron hinges and a proper stretcher to keep out and sup- 
port the sides when open. The curtains must be likewise 
made to come forward, and when let down will form a 
Tent." 

Another bed Chippendale describes is a " Couch with 
Canopy. The Curtains must be made to draw up in 
Drapery, or to let down, when it is occasionally converted 
into a Bed. This sort of Couch is very fit for alcoves, or 
such deep Recesses as are often seen in large Apartments. 
It may also be placed at the end of a long gallery. If 
the Curtains and Valances are adorned with a large gold 
Fringe and Tassels, and the ornaments gilt with burnished 
gold, it will look very grand.*' 

The " field-bed " had early lost its character of being 
suited only for the tented camp. It was, however, lighter 
than the four-post bedstead with cornice and tester. Light 
curved bars joining the tops of the posts formed a kind of 
dome for the curtains; thus the "field-bed'* probably took 
its name from the resemblance it retained to the tent. 

In 1736, the Rev. Dr. Thomas Harward of Boston 
owned a " field bedstead with blue curtains, ;^8/* Fifty 

647 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

years later Heppelwhite supplies designs for " sweeps " for 
the tops, and, perhaps, contributes materially to making 
the field-bed fashionable. A "Heppelwhite*' bed with 
one of his characteristic "sweeps" appears on page 454. 
According to Heppelwhite's design, the top central bar 
and the two side posts are surmounted by urns. The cur- 
tains, of course, are equally divided by falling from the 
centre of the dome straight down along the side of the 
bed. The one to the left is thrown back and looped over 
an ornamental staple. The counterpane should be stretched 
tightly across the bed, and the petticoat valance hang in 
rigid folds. The bolster, which the looped-back curtain 
exhibits, should be a long narrow roll. There are no pil- 
lows. Some of the field bedsteads had the tops sloped 
from the head to the foot. 

We find the field-bed, made of mahogany and curled 
maple, advertised as late as 1826, in company with high- 
post and French bedsteads. 

In addition to the " Field-bed," Heppelwhite gives de- 
signs of the " Venetian or Waggon Top," " Dome Top," 
"Square Dome Top," and "Press Beds," which fold, and 
are similar to a wardrobe in shape. 

All of these beds, Heppelwhite tells us, " may be exe- 
cuted of almost every stuff the loom produces. White 
dimity, plain or corded, is peculiarly applicable for the 
furniture, which, with a fringe or gymp-head, produces an 
effect of elegance and neatness truly agreeable. The Man- 
chester stuffs have been wrought into Bed-furniture with 
good success. Printed cottons and linens are also very 
suitable." In general he recommends plain white cotton 
for lining the draperies, and states that for furniture of a 
dark pattern " a green silk lining may be used with good 

648 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR . FOREFATHERS 

effect," and adds, a bed with "dove-coloured satin-cur- 
tains and green silk lining would afford as much scope for 
taste, elegance and simplicity as the most capricious fancy 
can wish." Yet Heppelwhite cared little or nothing for 
cold white bed furniture in luxurious apartments, as will be 
seen from his following instructions : 




Society of AiHiquiiy, 



" In staterooms where a high degree of elegance and 
grandeur are wanted, beds are frequently made of silk or 
satin figured or plain, also of velvet with gold fringe, etc, 

" The Vallance to elegant beds should always be gath- 
ered full, which is called a Petticoat Vallance. The Cor- 
nices may be either of mahogany carved, carved or gilt, 
or painted and japanned. The ornaments over the cor- 
nices may be in the same manner. 

" Arms or other ornaments to Stuffed Head Boards 
■ should be carved in small relief, gilt and burnished. The 
Pillars should be of mahogany, with the embellishments 
carved." 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

One design for a bed with a "sweep top, with gilt 
ornaments or mahogany, shows a stuffed headboard with 
ornaments and drapery over it." The curtains falling 
from the cornice hang over this again. "The drapery," 
Heppelwhite says, " may be the same as the furniture or 
the lining: the ornaments gilt; the headboard is stuffed 
and projects like the back of a ^ofa. The addition of 
stuffed headboards gives an elegant and high finish to the 
appearance of beds." 

Sheraton carries upholstery still further in the decora- 
tion of his bedsteads. Indeed, with him the frame be- 
comes of comparatively little importance. He was par- 
ticularly fond of the dome (see page 483). His book 
contains several complicated beds. Of the French State 
Bed, he says : " Beds of this kind have been introduced of 
late with great success in England," and goes on to de- 
scribe that " the dome is supported by iron rods of about 
an inch in diameter, curved regularly down to each pillar 
where they are fixed with a strong screw and nut. These 
iron rods are covered and entirely hid by a valance, which 
comes in a regular sweep, and meets in a point at the 
vases on the pillars. Behind this valance, which continues 
all round, the drapery is drawn up by pulleys and tied up 
by a silken cord and tassels at the head of the pillars. 
The headboards of these beds are framed and stuffed, and 
covered to suit the hangings, and the frame is white and 
gold, if the pillars and cornice are. The bed-frame is 
sometimes ornamented, and has drapery valances below. 
Observe that grooves are made in the pillars to receive the 
headboards, and screwed at the top, by which means the 
whole is kept firm, and is easily taken to pieces. Square 
bolsters, are now often introduced, with margins of vari- 

650 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ous colours stitched all round. The counterpane has also 
these margins ; they are also fringed at bottom, and have 
sometimes a drapery tied up in cords and tassels on the 
side." Then he describes the "sofa-bed" as follows; 

" The frames of these beds are sometimes painted in 
ornaments to suit the furniture. But when the furniture 
is of such rich silk, they are done in white and gold, and 




SOFA 
Owned b; Mn. H. John Symonds, Cliulncan, S. C. See page 654. 



the ornaments carved. The tablets may each have a fes- 
toon of flowers or foliage, and the cornice cut out in 
leaves and gilt has a good effect. The drapery under the 
cornice is of the French kind; it is fringed all round, and 
laps on to each other like unto waves. The valance serves 
as a ground, and is also fringed. The roses which tuck 
up the curtains are formed by silk cord, etc., on the wall, 
to suit the hangings; and observe that the centre rose con- 
tains a brass hook and socket, which will unhook so that 
the curtains will come forward and entirely enclose the 
whole bed. The sofa part is sometimes made without any 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

back, in the manner of a couch • It must also be observed 
that the best kinds of these beds have behind what the 
upholsterers call a fluting, which is done by a slight frame 
of wood fastened to the wall, on which is strained in 
straight puckers, some of the same stuff of which the cur- 
tains are made/* 

Sheraton's bed stood very high from the floor and 
needed bed-steps. In describing his" alcove bed," he says : 
" The steps are introduced to show that beds of this sort 
are raised high and require something to step on before 
they can be got into. The steps are generally covered 
with carpet and framed in mahogany. Both this, the sofa, 
and French state bed require steps. The dome of this bed 
is fixed in the same manner as the other ; but the roses to 
which the curtains are tucked up are different. This is 
made of tin and covered with the stuff of the bed, and un- 
buckles to take in the curtains behind the rose. Upon 
the fluting, as before mentioned, is fixed a drapery in this 
as shown in the design ; and sometimes in the arch of the 
alcove a drapery is introduced,'* 

The Empire bed and the " French bed," of which we 
give a few descriptions (see pages 653—4), are no less depend- 
ent on draperies for their effect than the above kinds which 
they supplanted. 

Let us take a few more examples: in 18 16, a lit de 
reposy or sofa bed, " has a peculiar character of unaffected 
ease, and is not without its full claim to elegance. The 
sofa is of the usual construction and the draperies are 
thrown over a sceptre rod projecting from the walls of the 
apartment: they are of silk, as is the courte pointe also." 
The one who is describing it says : " In fashions as in 
manners it sometimes happens that one extreme immedi- 

652 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

ately usurps the place of the other, without regarding their 
intervening degrees of approximation. For the precise in 
dress the French have adopted the deshabille; and it has 
been applied to their articles of furniture in many instances, 
giving to them an air which amateurs term neglige y An- 
other fashionable bed of the same year is made of rosewood 
ornamented with carved foliage, gilt in matt and burnished 
gold. The drapery is of rose-coloured silk lined with 
azure blue, and consists of one curtain gathered up at the 
ring in the centre of the canopy, being full enough to 
form the festoons and curtains both of the head and foot. 
The elegance of this bed greatly depends on the choice, 
arrangement and modification of the three primitive col- 
ours, blue, yellow and red ; and in the combination of 
these its chasteness or gaiety may be augmented or 
abridged." The curtain was edged with fringe. A small 
bed intended for the apartment of a young lady of fashion 
had hangings of a " light blue silk, the ornaments being 
of a tender shade of brown and the linings to correspond ; 
they are supported by rings and rods of brass, behind which 
the curtains are suspended and drawn up by silk cords en- 
riched with tassels.*' A fourth " English bed " of this same 
year has beautiful curtains of pea green, pale poppy and 
canary. This is designed by Mr. G. Bulloch, and the 
critic approves of it by saying : " The abandonment of 
that profusion of drapery which has long been fashiona- 
ble has admitted this more chastened style in point of 
forms, and has introduced a richness in point of colours 
that has long been neglected." 

In 1 8 17, a canopy or sofa bed has draperies of silk 
" ornamented with the lace and fringe which are so ad- 
mirable an imitation of gold ; the linings are lilac and 

«53 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

bufF. A muslin embroidered drapery is applied as a cov- 
ering in the daytime. The outside curtains that fall from 
a kind of crown are dark green/* 

We learn that, in 1822, " the taste for French furniture 
is carried to such an extent that most elegantly furnished 
mansions, particularly the sleeping-rooms, are fitted up in 
the French style ; and we must confess that, while the 
antique forms the basis of their decorative and ornamental 
furniture, it will deservedly continue in repute/' The 
sofa or French bed, " designed and decorated in the French 
style," which is selected as an example, is said to be 
adapted for apartments of superior elegance." It is 
" highly ornamented with Grecian ornaments, in burnished 
and matt gold. The cushions and inner coverlids are of 
white satin. The outer covering is of muslin in order to 
display the ornaments to advantage, and bear out the rich- 
ness of the canopy. The dome is composed of alternate 
pink and gold fluting, surrounded with ostrich feathers, 
forming a novel, light and elegant effect; the drapery is 
green satin with a salmon-coloured lining." 

The curiously shaped sofa, facing page 648, dates from 
about 1825 or 1830, and is properly known as a " Psyche " 
and also as a '^ Kangaroo." The frame is of mahogany. 
This is owned by Mrs. J. Adair Pleasants, Richmond, Va. 

The sofa, on page 651, belonging to Mrs. John Symonds, 
Charleston, S. C, is similar in many respects to models 
that appear in English periodicals of fashion in 182 1. It 
is of mahogany and striped silk of white and pale green. 
The late Empire characteristics are still observable. 

The settee, on the frontispiece, is of mahogany, with 
stuffed seat covered with printed velvet. This belongs to 
the Chippendale school and dates from the second half 

654 



THE FURNITURE OF OUR FOREFATHERS 

of the eighteenth century. The frame is elaborately 
carved with a leaf design and rosettes, and the central 
panel, which is of the old jar-shape, is pierced with a scroll 
forming the figure eight in two sizes. The arms are 
curved. Six cabriole legs support the settee, the front 
ones being carved at the spring and ending in volutes. 
This handsome piece is owned by the Museum of Science 
and Art, Dublin. 

The illustration facing page 632 is a room in the home 
of Mrs. John Marshall Holcombe, Hartford, Conn. 
The house was built in 1 8 1 5 : of the woodwork in this 
room the wainscotting alone is new. The chairs are of the 
Chippendale school; the inlaid sideboard is of the Heppel- 
white period (with modern handles); the looking-glass 
above it is carved and gilt ; and the clock on the mantel- 
piece is Empire. The handsomest piece of furniture is the 
mahogany table, which is an extraordinarily fine example. 




! 



: 



■1 



;; 



1 






t 



INDEX 






. I 






,1 



I 






INDEX 



Acacia, Thorn, 586. 

Acajou, 594. 

Acker wood, 589. 

Adam furniture, 464r-9, 596, 

627. 
Adams, Nathaniel (joiner), stock 

of, 178. 
Alamode, 634. 
Allerton, Isaac, 165-6, 171. 
Allyn, Alex., inventory of, 232. 
Amboyna wood, 586, 589. 
Androuet, Jacques, book of, 195. 
Ash, 160, 173, 178, 323, 586. 
Aspen, 586. 
Atlantic passage, 27. 
Atlantic voyagers, early, 162. 

Bancours, 14. 

Bay, i39» >49- 
Beaufait, 134, 271, 352-5. 
Beaufet. See Beauifait. 
Beaufett. See Beaiifait. 
Beaufit. See Beaufait. 
Bed, the, 10-18, 645-54. 

— Chippendale, 446, 646-7. 

— Empire, 652. 

— Feather, 144. 

— Field, 141, 647-8. 

— Flock, 144. 

— Folding, 349. 

— Furnishings, 42, 93, 142-4, 
»03-5» 279-80, 645-6, 
648-50. 

— Heppelwhite, 648-50. 

— High-post, 203. 

— Kermesse, 250-1. 

— Mahogany settee, 141. 

— Rhyme about, 15. 

— Sacking-bottom, 16, 140-1, 
144. 

— Sea, 140. 

— Sheraton, 482, 650-2. 

— Sixteen-post, 15. 

— Sofe, 647, 651-2, 653-4. 

— Steps, 652. 

— Truckle, 202-3. 

— Trundle, 140, 202-3, ^S®* 

— Of Ware, 16. 

Beds, 42-3, 93, 103, 140-^, 
202-5. 

— Cost of, 395. 

— Disputes about, 17-18. 

— Folding, 250. 



Beds, Names of, 14. 

— In the South, 16, 17. 

— Stuffing for, 18, 203. 
Bedsteads, 349. 

— Dutch, 250. 

— Field, 141. 

— Folding, 141. 

— Four-post oak, 141. 

— High-post, 250. 

— Press, 141, 212, 349. 

— Sarsafaix, 141. 

— Standing, 140-1. 

— Trundle, 349. 
Bed-chamber, importance of the, 

10. 
Beech, 347, 586, 589. 
Beef wood, 588. 
Bell-flower, The, 46, 462, 465- 

6, 471 » 474- 
Betvotr^ 499, 500, 509. 

— Furniture of, 500. 
Berain, Jean, 410, 411. 
Bingham, William, 562-4. 
Birch, 398, 586, 600. 

Blair, Mrs. Mary, furniture of, 

378-80, 
Board, old name for table, 198. 
Bofet. Se' Beaufait 
Bombe, 195, 256, 405, 623. 
Bonaparte, Joseph, 564-7. 
Bookcase, 151, 221, 622-3. 
Books, 66-7, 221. 
Borromini, 411. 
Botany Bay oak, 589. 
Boulle, Andre Charles, 152, 

403-8. 
Box, 54. 

with-drawers, 56. 

Box wood, 57, 586. 

Boylston, N., furniture of, 386. 

Brass, 341-2. 

Brass handles, 322. 

Brass inlay, 597. 

Brass mounts, 286, 322, 340. 

Brass ware for furniture, 286. 

Braziers, 355. 

Braziletto wood, 285. 

Brewster, Francis, furniture of, 

165. 
Brewton, Miles, home of, 494-5. 
Brick, kilns in New England, 160. 
Bricks, 7, 33-4, 81, 115, 158- 

9> 54*. 

659 



Bromfield, Edward, home of, 377. 
Bufl^et. See Beaufait. 
Buffet stool, 1 90- 1. 
Biihl. See Boulle. 
Bureau, 56, 369. 
Bureau-desk, 369. 

— Dressbg, 610. 

Burnet, Gov. Wm. , furniture of, 

274-8. 
Buroe. See Bureau. 
Butternut, 600. 
Byrd, Col. Wm., importations of, 

33- 

Cabinrt, 61, 222-3, 5^^' 

— East India, 223, 259. 

— Musical, 530. 

— Olive wood, 346. 
Cabinet-maker, stock of a (1798), 

546-8. 
Cabinet-makers, 173, 315-25, 
390-1, 546, 601-5, 6^*- 

»3- 

— Advertisements of, 287-8. 

— Batty Langley on, 425-8. 
Cabinet-making, amateur, 287. 
Cabinet and Chait-Maker's Book 

of Prices, quotation from, 

613-21. 
Cabriole leg, 57, 194, 195, 256, 

277. 
Calimanco, 632. 
Calico, 17, 631. 
Calvert, Leonard, furniture of, 

24-5. 
Camak, 14. 
Camblet, 632. 
Camoca, 14. 
Camwood, 598. 
Canary wood, 589. 
Cane seats, 136. 
Carpets, 24, 144, 295-6. 
Carter, Robert, furniture of, 

117-9. 
Carvers, 173, 179, 359. 
Carving, 62, 359, 450-2. 

— Dutch love of, 242-3. 

— Elizabethan and Jacobean, 1 8— 
20. 

Carvings, 356-7. 
Case, 54. 

— -of-drawers, 216, 342-4, 370. 
Caihoci, 257. 



INDEX 



Casket, inlaid (1654), 238. 

Casten, 123. 

Cate^y, Mark, quotadon from, 

594- 
Cedar, 63, 86, 134, 139, 140, 

'45* I49> 160, 201, 202, 
214, 268, 285, 322, 335, 
347, 585, 586, 589, 595, 

599-' 

— Bermuda, 179, 201. 

— Red, 160, 173, 322, 369, 
392. 

— Spanish, 322. 
CeUarets, 475-6, 534. 

Chairs, 45-51, 135-9, 180-195, 
270, 290-1, 335, 338-9, 

347-9, 393, 539-40. 
Chain, *' Bannister back,** 471. 

— Bass-bottomed, 137-8, 186. 

— Birch, 398. 

— Black, 137, 320, 335, 365. 

— Brocade bottom, 138. 

— Cabriole, 471. 

— Carved, 138, 194. 

— Cedar, 138. 

— Child's, 1 8 1-2. 

— Chippendale, 274, 276, 277- 
8, 456, 638. 

— Comb-back, 398. 

— Conversation, 483-4, 639. 

— Comer, 124, 138. 

— Cromwell, 45. 

— Crooked-back, 335, 347. 

— Crown-back, 336, 338, 456. 

— Curled maple, 539. 

— Deibyshire, 45-6. 

— Dutch, 248, 277. 

— Dutch influence, 194-5. 

— Ebony, 249. 

— Elbow, 348-9. 

— "Embowed,** 276-7, 278, 

349, 456. 

— Fancy, 640-41. 

— Five-back, 347. 

— Flag, 138. 

— Four-back, 347. 

— Great, 164-5. 

— Grecian, 539. 

— Green, 186. 

— Heppelwhite, 471, 638—9. 

— Herculaneums, 483, 639. 

— Hickory, 138. 

— Joiners, 320. 

— Landscape, 539. 

— Leathcr,45, 182-5, 334, 347- 

— "Lolling,** 549. 

— Maple matted, 138. 

— Number and variety of, in 
New Amsterdam, 248-9. 

— Number and variety of, in 
New England, 19 1-4. 

— Number and variety of, in 
the South, 46 

— Oak, 45-46, 165. 



Chain, Parmetaw (palmetto), 
138. 

— Patchwork, 347. 

— ** Plate-back,** 277, 347. 

— Red, 138. 

— Reed, 186. 

— Rockmg, 539. 

— Roundabout, 349. 

— Rush, 45, 186. 

— Saddlecheck, 291. 

— Sealskin, 334, 347. 

— Sedge-bottom, 186, 334. 
Settle, 195. 

— Sewing, 539. 

— Sheepskin, 138. 

— Sheraton, 482-4, 639. 

— Shield-back, 471, 628. 

— Slat, 335, 347. 

— Straw, 138. 

— Straight, 347. 

— Stuffed or upholstered, 188-9. 

— Table, 63, 195-6. 

— Three-back, 347. 

— Trafalgar, 539, 540, 641. 

— Two-back, 347. 

— Turkey-work, 45, 137, 190, 

335, 339, 346, 347, 39^- 

— Turned, 182. 

— Venetian, 184^5. 

— Wamscot, 23, 182. 

— Walnut, 365-6. 

— White, 137 ; teats for, 136. 

— Wicker, 185-6. 

— Windsor, 138, 398, 539. 

— " Wing,** 187, 291, 349. 

— Wooden, 334. 

— Wood-bottom, 45. 

— With X-shaped legs, 188-9, 
241. 

— Yorkshire, 45-6. 
Chaise longue, 482, 644. 
Chamben, Sir William, 419. 
Chaney (cheney), 632. 
Cherry, 140, 285, 320, 323, 

335, 337, 338, 340, 34* 

34», 398, 586. 
Chest, 54^5, 349-50- 
-"Brides,** 214. 

— Cedar, 54. 

— Development of, 215. 

— Oak, 54, 213. 

— Spruce, 214. 
Chest-of-drawen, 56, 145, 216- 

19, 366, 370. 

— -upon-chest, 370-1. 

with-drawen, 55-6, 174, 

216, 349-50, 366. 

Chests, 54-5, 179, ai3, »7i. 

— Woods used for, 214. 
Chestnut, 256, 347, 586, 599. 
Chevillon, 432. 
Chimney-cloths, 263. 
Chimney-piece, 296-7. 

China, 125, 130-1, 297-9, 353. 

660 



China, Defoe on, 419. 

— Introduction into Europe, 41 4» 
16. 

— Manii, beginnings of, 412. 

— Marot*s use of, 416-7. 

— Ornamental, 130-1, 300-1, 

357, 368. 

— Use of, in decofatian, 416—9. 

— Wares, 223. 

Chinese, Chippendale's use of, 

455- 

— Designs, 428. 

— Fad, 419-20. 
Chmtz, 143. 

Chippoidale, Thomas, 419, 432- 
50, 452P-8, 638, 646-7. 

Chippendale furniture, 452^-64, 
627. 

Chocolate, 128. 

Chomel, 594. 

Cipriani, 589. 

Cleansing utensils, Dutch, 247. 

Cleopatra' t Barge, 554-5* 

Clinton, Gen. Charla, 290. 

— De Witt, 537. 

— Qiiocation from, 611. 
Clock, alarm, 146. 

— " Banjo,** 531. 

— Brass, 334. 

— and case, 171, 224. 

— Chiming, 518. 

— Cuckoo, 530. 

— French, 531. 

— Friesland, 244-5. 

— German, 531. 

— Japanned, 146. 

— Musical, 528-30, 531-2. 

— Repeating, 224. 

— Table, 146. 

Clocks, 84, 146-7, 1 71-2, 224, 

301-4, 3H- 
Clockmaken, 102, 302-4. 

Cloths, cupboard, 24, 197, 207, 

209, 263. 

— For ches^-of-drawen, 218. 

— Press, 211. 

Cochin, satire of, 429-31. 
Coffee, 128, 130. 
Colbert, 404. 
Colonists, early Virginia, 3-7. 

— Needs for, 237-8. 

Colour, use of bright, 17, 144- 

5, 334. 
Copper-plate bed fiirmture, 98, 

280, 646. 
Coromandel wood, 589. 
Couch and squab, 393. 
Counterpane, 17, 143. 
Court cupboard. See Cupboard. 
Court House, furniture of a Va., 

71-2. 
Coverlid, 205. 

Cox, William, furniture of, 254. 
Crescents, The, 407.