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Classical Carved Settee with Eagles, Providence, RI

This is a phenomenal settee with exuberant carving throughout. This settee appears quite animated with eagle heads at the ends of each arm followed by beautifully developed reeding, all of which is supported by very distinctive carved claw and ball feet. These feet are unusual, because it's not the standard "hairy pawed" foot but a bird's foot, harkening to earlier Chippendale claw and ball forms. It is quite fitting that the eagle heads are complemented with a stylized bird foot and it is this foot which interestingly relates to a similar foot on a sofa on the second floor of the John Brown House in Providence, made by the Rawson family of cabinetmakers. Also, the chestnut is a secondary wood commonly used in Rhode Island furniture.



If all else weren't enough, this settee has a fully carved crest rail with three carved panels typical of New York Phyfe style sofas. This sofa, which is somewhat later than the Classical Phyfe sofas that were produced c.1810-20, is a vernacular derivative of New York Classical furniture. However, it goes further with the creative eagle with feet motif than any of the early New York ones did. It is less restrained and more free-flowing in form.



--- An examination report by Philip Zimmerman is provided below. ---



PHILIP D. ZIMMERMAN, PH.D.

CONSULTING SERVICES

---------------------------------

1425 VALLEY ROAD

VOICE/FAX: (717) 390-9818

LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA 17603

PHILIP.ZIMMERMAN@FANDM.EDU





REPORT





December 23, 2010





On December 8, 2010, I examined a small, mahogany, Rhode Island sofa owned by Stanley Weiss at his gallery in Providence, Rhode Island. The sofa was stripped of all upholstery. The examination was visual only and was intended to determine whether the sofa had been cut down in size or otherwise altered in its form. I record my observations and opinions below.



This extraordinarily carved sofa follows the general form of stylish New York sofas of the late 1810s inasmuch as it has a reeded frame in front, stands on animal paw feet, and has a rolled crest carved in three panels. The center panel has opposed cornucopia; the flanking panels have “thunderbolts” (although only three rather than the customary five); carved ribbons adorn the centers of all three panels. Paired eagle heads at each side

terminate the structural elements forming the arms. These unusual carvings recall similar eagle heads on a bedstead by Charles Honoré Lannuier of New York (see Peter M. Kenny, Frances F. Bretter, and Ulrich Leben, Honoré Lannuier: Cabinetmaker from Paris [New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998], cat. no. 3). Rendering of the feathered feet is unlike any other furniture of the 1810s and 1820s.



The desirable small size of this sofa inevitably raises the question of whether it might have been reduced in length at some point. It its unupholstered state, unequivocal evidence of oxidation and tack holes indicates that the frame has not been altered in any way. Even oxidation confirms that none of the rails and braces has been changed. Tack holes follow pathways that cross various framing members. Of note, tack holes along the top of the rear rail stop at each intersection of the end rails. If the sofa had been cut down, tack holes for the seat would have continued along the top of the rear rail, beyond the present location of the end rails. Similarly, the solid back rail of the sofa back shows no evidence of having been reduced in length. Last, the three carved crest panels are proportioned to the present length of the sofa, not to the more usual lengths.



PHILIP D. ZIMMERMAN, PH.D.

This is a phenomenal settee with exuberant carving throughout. This settee appears quite animated with eagle heads at the ends of each arm followed by beautifully developed reeding, all of which is supported by very distinctive carved claw and ball feet. These feet are unusual, because it's not the standard "hairy pawed" foot but a bird's foot, harkening to earlier Chippendale claw and ball forms. It is quite fitting that the eagle heads are complemented with a stylized bird foot and it is this foot which interestingly relates to a similar foot on a sofa on the second floor of the John Brown House in Providence, made by the Rawson family of cabinetmakers. Also, the chestnut is a secondary wood commonly used in Rhode Island furniture.



If all else weren't enough, this settee has a fully carved crest rail with three carved panels typical of New York Phyfe style sofas. This sofa, which is somewhat later than the Classical Phyfe sofas that were produced c.1810-20, is a vernacular derivative of New York Classical furniture. However, it goes further with the creative eagle with feet motif than any of the early New York ones did. It is less restrained and more free-flowing in form.



--- An examination report by Philip Zimmerman is provided below. ---



PHILIP D. ZIMMERMAN, PH.D.

CONSULTING SERVICES

---------------------------------

1425 VALLEY ROAD

VOICE/FAX: (717) 390-9818

LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA 17603

PHILIP.ZIMMERMAN@FANDM.EDU





REPORT





December 23, 2010





On December 8, 2010, I examined a small, mahogany, Rhode Island sofa owned by Stanley Weiss at his gallery in Providence, Rhode Island. The sofa was stripped of all upholstery. The examination was visual only and was intended to determine whether the sofa had been cut down in size or otherwise altered in its form. I record my observations and opinions below.



This extraordinarily carved sofa follows the general form of stylish New York sofas of the late 1810s inasmuch as it has a reeded frame in front, stands on animal paw feet, and has a rolled crest carved in three panels. The center panel has opposed cornucopia; the flanking panels have “thunderbolts” (although only three rather than the customary five); carved ribbons adorn the centers of all three panels. Paired eagle heads at each side

terminate the structural elements forming the arms. These unusual carvings recall similar eagle heads on a bedstead by Charles Honoré Lannuier of New York (see Peter M. Kenny, Frances F. Bretter, and Ulrich Leben, Honoré Lannuier: Cabinetmaker from Paris [New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998], cat. no. 3). Rendering of the feathered feet is unlike any other furniture of the 1810s and 1820s.



The desirable small size of this sofa inevitably raises the question of whether it might have been reduced in length at some point. It its unupholstered state, unequivocal evidence of oxidation and tack holes indicates that the frame has not been altered in any way. Even oxidation confirms that none of the rails and braces has been changed. Tack holes follow pathways that cross various framing members. Of note, tack holes along the top of the rear rail stop at each intersection of the end rails. If the sofa had been cut down, tack holes for the seat would have continued along the top of the rear rail, beyond the present location of the end rails. Similarly, the solid back rail of the sofa back shows no evidence of having been reduced in length. Last, the three carved crest panels are proportioned to the present length of the sofa, not to the more usual lengths.



PHILIP D. ZIMMERMAN, PH.D.

Classical Carved Settee with Eagles, Providence, RI

PRICE:
OF THE PERIOD: Neoclassical
COUNTRY: United States
DATE OF MANUFACTURE: c.1820-30
MATERIALS: Mahogany
CONDITION: Excellent
HEIGHT: 36.25 in. (92 cm)
WIDTH: 6 ft. 4.5 in. (194 cm)
DEPTH: 25 in. (63 cm)
SEAT HEIGHT: 13.25 in. (34 cm)
DEALER LOCATION: Providence, RI
NUMBER OF ITEMS: 1
REFERENCE NUMBER: U110319907552

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Stanley Weiss Collection
292 Westminister Street Providence, RI 02903 United States 401-272-3200
Dealer Reference Number: sw01057
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