1 of 10 images

Duncan Phyfe Federal Period Sofa

About

The Phyfe Shop's earliest (prior to 1800) Sheraton-Adam inspired, masterfully carved mahogany SIX legged sofa or 'settee'. Three panels of crest rail carvings: a central bowed swag panel, with bow tied wheat sheaves in panels to either side. In-turned curvature of reed faced side arms. The two baluster arm supports, and the four front legs, are finely reeded with a count of 22. The two rear legs are slightly raking and plain. All six legs rest on casters. Exceptional refinement of English Sheraton and Scottish Adam Brothers design and proportion; with characteristic American Federal period hand-carved motifs and detail. Secondary woods and manner of joinery substantiate attribution and dating to the first NYC shop of Duncan Phyfe, on Partition (now Fulton) Street. The six-legged 'in-turned side arm' sofa is Phyfe's earliest, rarest, and most restrained; unlike the more common, heavily carved American Classical period furniture produced by his shop decades later.

Details

  • Period
  • Materials and techniques
  • Condition
    Good. Fine period antique condition; structurally sound, recent upholstery. Expected surface condition of carved mahogany. Boxed seating springs replaced cloth webbing and cushion, approximately 100 years after the sofa was originally made..
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 36.25 in. x W 72 in. x D 29 in.

    H 92.08 cm x W 182.88 cm x D 73.66 cm

  • Seat height
    18.5 in. (46.99 cm)
  • Seller location
    Woodbury, CT
  • Seller reference number
    1709 JAEEE/DMS
  • Reference number
    U1209168667365

Shipping, Returns & Payment

  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About Duncan Phyfe (Designer)

Duncan Phyfe was arguably the greatest early American cabinetmaker — and undoubtedly the most prominent. In his long tenure as the furniture provider of choice to wealthy and fashionable New Yorkers, Phyfe promoted a unique interpretation of the neoclassical style that set a standard for elegance and taste that remains influential in the United States to this day.


     Born Duncan Fife, he immigrated with his family from Scotland to Albany, New York, in 1784. Precisely where Phyfe received his training in woodworking and joinery remains unclear, but by 1794 he had moved to New York City, married, made the distinctive change in the spelling of his family name and established a cabinetmaking workshop and showroom in lower Manhattan. Phyfe likely drew inspiration for his wares from the designs published in pattern books by Georgian-era English furniture makers like Thomas Sheraton. To these, Phyfe added his own variations on carved details that referenced antiquity: lyres, fasces, paw-shaped feet, fluted column-like legs and curved or scrolled armrests. The elegant neoclassical aesthetic helped shape the unformed tastes of clients like fur trader and landowner John Jacob Astor, whose patronage drew other members of the city’s growing merchant class to Phyfe’s door. By the early 1800s, Phyfe had a skilled workforce of more than 100 craftsmen.


     Phyfe would dabble in several other furniture styles — Empire, Rococo, Gothic Revival — as decorating trends came and went, but neoclassicism remained the keynote of his work. Assisted by his sons, Phyfe stayed in business until 1847 and retired as one of the richest men in the city. He seldom applied a label or maker’s mark to his workshop’s creations, perhaps believing his signature style and outstanding craftsmanship spoke for themselves.


     Despite his company’s large output, relatively few pieces can be conclusively ascribed to Phyfe, and most of those are in museums. A popular 1922 exhibition of Phyfe’s work at the Metropolitan Museum in New York revived interest in his work and made his name a byword for fine American antique furniture. As a consequence, Duncan Phyfe attributions abound in stores and galleries. Collectors are advised to buy only from dealers with the highest reputation, and to display that purchase proudly if you do. Furniture by Duncan Phyfe is a true national treasure.

About the Seller

Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2009
Typical response time: 1 hr
Located in Woodbury, CT
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries

More From This Seller
NaN

Painted Klismos Foursome Settee

American Settees

A four-chairback Federal period long settee, in its original black-green paint, parcel-gilt trim, and caning; with a newly upholstered yellow gold herringbone stripe slip seat, confo...

NaN

Arts & Crafts Movement Settee

American Sofas

Upholstery

Deaccessioned from a Masonic Temple, a massive American Arts & Crafts movement settee or long hall bench. Stylistically, through comparison to other known early samples, it appe...

NaN

William and Mary Dutch Baroque Settee

Dutch Sofas

Upholstery, Walnut

William and Mary furniture derives its naming from Dutch William III of Orange, and his wife Mary II; who became joint monarchs of England in 1689. Very comfortable and skillfully u...

NaN / set

Italian Swan Lyre Klismos Settee and Side Chair

Italian Settees

Cane, Fruitwood

An Italian cane seated fruitwood quadruple lyre back settee and accompanying side chair. The lyre forms are actually pairs of swans' necks with a central inlaid column, simulating st...

NaN

American 'Phaeton' Carriage Seat

American Benches

Phaeton is the early 19th-century term for an open carriage drawn by a single horse or a pair. With four oversized wheels, very lightly sprung, and a minimal body; it was fast and d...

NaN

Tyrolean Rococo Canape

Austrian Sofas

Walnut

A slightly diminutive carved walnut canapé or settee, made at the outset of the reign of the Empress Maria Theresa. Though its dating precedes the Franco-Austrian alliance, Regenc...

NaN

Louis XV Giltwood Canape a Oreilles

French Canapes

Beech, Giltwood

Made circa 1740, midway into the reign of Louis XV, a deep-seated luxuriously upholstered and extraordinarily comfortable specimen Canape a Oreilles. Its scrolling frame is carved wi...

NaN

Louis XVI Jean-Baptiste Boulard Canapé

Jean-Baptiste Boulard

French Sofas

A three-seat canapé en peinte (settee in original paint) upholstered in yellow Scalamandre silk damask. Jean-Baptiste Boulard, born c.1725 - died 1789, received as a Master in 175...

You May Also Like
NaN

Important Parcel Gilt Duncan Phyfe Settee, New ...

Duncan Phyfe

American Settees

Mahogany, Upholstery

Rare, and original circa 1816, New York classical mahogany settee most certainly attributed to the workshop of renowned New York City cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe. This example is the ...

NaN

Carved Mahogany Sofa, New York, Possibly Phyfe,...

Duncan Phyfe

American Sofas

The Devil is in the details and this is one of the finest classical sofas we've owned. Let's start with the arm supports. Note where the skirt meets the leg. That block is carved on ...

NaN

Carved Mahogany Grecian Sofa

Duncan Phyfe

American Sofas

Mahogany

In the manner of Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854), New York, circa 1815. The scrolled crest rail with a central panel with relief-carved intertwined cornucopia issuing fruit and wheat, f...

NaN

Carved Mahogany Classical Sofa with Dolphins, c...

Duncan Phyfe

American Sofas

Mahogany

This sofa has it all. It retains the finely carved Phyfe tablets that compose the crest rail, and instead of the usual reeded arm supports, finely carved dolphins are employed. Note ...

NaN Sale Price
25% Off

Antique Sheraton Mahogany Camel Back Upholstere...

American Sofas

Upholstery, Mahogany

Antique Sheraton sofa features mahogany frame with camel back and seated on four turned legs, upholstered seat, arms and back, 20th century Measures - 35"h X 63"w x 25"d, 17" seat h...

NaN

Beautiful French Restauration Period Sofa

French Sofas

Mahogany

Beautiful French Restauration period sofa.

NaN

George III Period Linen Velvet Sofa

English Sofas

Mahogany, Velvet

George III period linen velvet sofa. Versatile simple serpentine mahogany framed George III period sofa on five tapered legs on brass casters. Later vintage upholstery in butter gol...

NaN

Period Antique Swedish Empire Carved and Bronze...

Swedish Sofas

Maple

Uniquely styled mid-19th century period Swedish Empire carved wood sofa upholstered in silk. The two-tiered stair step ends are perfectly designed as small end tables. The upper t...

NaN

Period Early 19th Century Swedish Gustavian or ...

Ephraim Stahl

Baltic Sofas

Birch

Rare Swedish or Baltic sofa of the neoclassical period. Original carved and parcel-gilt Mystic Sphinxes as armrests. Gustavian applied carvings in style of Ephraim Stahl. More i...

NaN

18th Century Swedish Period Gustavian Trag Sofa...

Swedish Sofas

Wood, Paint

An 18th century Swedish, Rococo inspired, Gustavian period (Trågsoffa). This is an exceptional and rare period piece that was purchased from a private collection in Belgium. It has b...

NaN

Duncan Phyfe Style Sofa

American Sofas

Lacquer, Upholstery, Wood

Duncan Phyfe Style Sofa with Gray Lacquer. Cotton Twill Stripe with Trim.

NaN

Federal Sofa

American Sofas

Mahogany

Probably Salem, Massachusetts, circa 1810. Mahogany, mahogany veneer, bird's-eye maple inlay, white pine secondary wood. Condition: Excellent. Minor repairs (re-enforcement to the ...