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Federal Mahogany Secretary and Bookcase, circa 1820
Attributed to Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854), New York, circa 1820. Comprised of two parts: The projecting pediment top above a veneered frieze above a pair of glazed cabinet doors with Gothic tracery opening to four fully adjustable shelves, over three short drawers with original brass pulls; the lower case with a hinged flip-out writing surface above a central long drawer flanked by short drawers above an arched knee hole flanked by square drawers all with original brass drawer pulls. The legs are turned and heavily reeded, terminating in brass socket ball feet. cornice width: 51¾" This rare secretary is closely related to one made for Thomas Lattimer Bowie that bears the label of Duncan Phyfe, published in Kenny, "Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York," (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011). The labeled secretary is identical in form to the present example but has a scrolled broken-arch pediment surmounted on the top. A second closely related example of a flip-out desk secretary was made for Mary Telfair and is documented to Phyfe in an 1816 letter to her friend Mary Few. A third flip-out desk example is in the collection at Boscobel. A fourth related secretary is known with tapering veneered legs and with brass ferules on the front feet only. The reeded Sheraton legs with carved paw feet of the Telfair secretary link it to a roll-top or cylinder secretary in the collection of The White House which, in turn, is linked to a cylinder secretary at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Three additional cylinder secretaries of this type are known. Experts considered all of these to be by Phyfe.
- Of the Period
- Place of Origin
- Date of Manufacturecirca 1820
- Materials and Techniques
- DimensionsH 86 in. x W 45 in. x D 23 in.H 218.44 cm x W 114.3 cm x D 58.42 cm
- Seller LocationNew York, NY
- Reference NumberLU135622413242
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Located in New York, NY
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