American Furniture By E. T. Joy

(Fig. 7). Such chairs may be seen in seven-teenth-century paintings of humbler Dutch interiors, though the source of the American ones was probably an English model. Usually of ash or maple, with rush seats. Named for John Carver, first governor of the Plymouth colony, who is said to have brought one to America with him in the Mayflower. Made until the end of the century. Many examples survive, the earliest dating perhaps about 1650. (See its variant, Brewster chair.)


handsome pieces of furniture were occasionally made of colourful red cedar wood, though cedar - both the red and the white-was usually set aside for drawers, chests, linings, etc.


the wild black cherry, a hard, close-grained, reddish or pinkish brown wood, was frequently used in America for furniture of the finest design and workman-ship. In use as early as 1680. Joseph Downs says cherry was a favourite wood among New York cabinet-makers; was more often used than mahogany in Connecticut (Plate 403),, and quite often used in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky furniture.

China cabinet:

seldom, if ever, found in America as a separate piece of furniture before 1790-1800. Even then it is perhaps a 'book¬case5 (q.v.) used for displaying china. In early examples the lower portion is often a shallow cupboard on legs. Most American china cabinets date after 1800 and are in the Sheraton or a later style.

Classical style:

scarcely known in America until about 1785, after the Revolu-tion, when popularized by Thomas Jefferson in architecture and by Hepplewhite and Sheraton style furniture, etc. Its character-istics were straight lines, little carving, restrained inlay.

Claw - and - ball foot:

an adaptation, probably from the Chinese, of a dragon's claw grasping a pearl. Perhaps first adapted in Europe by the Dutch, it spread to England, from whence it was introduced into America about 1735. Enormously popular as the foot of American cabriole leg furniture in the Queen Anne and Chippendale styles. It remained much in fashion as late as the 17905. In America a bird's claw was generally used, mostly the eagle's.


see Windsor.


a French - style chest of drawers. Very few commodes were made in America.

Connecticut chest:

so named because chiefly made in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Connecticut. Decorative chest with or without a bottom drawer or two. Orna¬mented with applied bosses and split spindles which set off three front panels carved, low relief, in conventionalized flowers - centre panel, sunflowers; other panels, tulips (Fig. 8).

Constitution mirror:

a term of obscure origin, perhaps a misnomer, widely used in America when referring to a Chippendale-style wall mirror with strings of leaves or flowers at the sides, a scrolled-arch top, and a fanciful finial, generally a bird. The frame is usually in walnut or mahogany and partly gilded (Fig. 9).

Corner chair:

a square or squarish seat supported by two side posts and a back post, the three extending above the seat to a low, strong, semicircular top rail. The fourth support, a leg, is added centre front. Made in America from about 1700 to 1775, it is found

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Antiques For Sale

Philip Burke has a wide range of 18th and 19th century English and continental antique furniture.

The different styles of antique furniture that comes in may only last a few days in the workshop before they are sold. If you require a piece of furniture not listed please call and we will do our best to cater for your needs.



Philip Burke has been involved in restoration work for a number of years dealing with all aspects of antique furniture restoration and conservation

Antique furniture is not always beautiful and pristine--in fact, some of the most valuable pieces show wear and fading. Whether or not to restore antique furniture can be a complex question, but it also depends on the definition of "restore."


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