American Furniture By E. T. Joy


inlay of nacreous shell slices, often used on early nineteenth-century American fancy chairs, tables, etc.

Name chests:

colloquial term for chests that bear the decoratively carved or painted name of the original owner.


alternative term for furniture of the brief classical revival in early nineteenth-century America. Mostly said of the late Empire style, 1815-40.


at first imported from England, oak was found in such abundance in America that it became the standard wood for fine furniture almost to the end of the seventeenth century. It continued to be used for sturdy constructions long after walnut and mahogany had come into fashion. Most seventeenth-century American oak furniture is now in museums, particularly extensive collections being in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass.; the Garvan Collection at Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; the Morgan-Nutting Collection in the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn.; Henry Ford's Greenfield Village, Detroit, Michigan; and the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois.

Occasional table:

any light table easily moved here or there to meet the occasion. Much used in America ever since early eighteenth-century times. Oxbow, Oxbow front: the reverse ser¬pentine curve, somewhat resembling the curve of an oxbow. Often employed in the finest eighteenth-century New England, es¬pecially Boston case furniture such as chests of drawers, secretaries, etc. Pear drop: see Drop handle.

Pedestal table:

apparently developed from the tripod table with a single columnar support, the shaft being shaped in sundry pedestal forms, hence the name. Many attrac¬tive American pedestal tables survive, notably those in Sheratonesque designs by Duncan Phyfe (Plate 380).

Pembroke table:

a term of obscure'origin used long before Hepplewhite published it in 1788. A light table, rectangular, with drop-leaf sides, made in America as early as 1771. American examples follow English designs and show no truly distinctive features. Widely used for breakfasting.

Pennsylvania 'Dutch', German:

a whole range of sturdy furniture made in finely simple, functional forms by the German, the Deutsch folk who settled in eighteenth-century eastern Pennsylvania. Generally of light-coloured woods - pine, maple, walnut, fruitwoods; the craftsmanship recalling pro¬vincial German work.


the most elegant of eighteenth-century American tea-tables, so named because the shaping and carving of the raised edge suggests the notched rim of a pie crust; a tripod table, the legs and pedestal often richly carved. Charles Nagel suggests that the elaborate shaping and carving of these tables reflects the fact that tea-taking was originally an all but prohibitive luxury.


a term used in America with so little exactness that though it should mean a high table to stand against a wall pier, it often means any side- or serving-table. Except perhaps in Southern mansions, few true pier-tables were made or needed in America before the Revolution. Pilgrim furniture: a general term some¬times used to describe the New England furni¬ture made during the seventeenth century for the Puritans, the 'Pilgrims (Fig. 14). Ex¬ceptionally fine collec¬tions may be found at the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., and the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

Pillar and scroll clock:

shelf or mantel clock by Eli Terry. Its wooden works are housed in a vertical rectangular case with a scrolled-arch top, small, round pillars at the sides, and delicately small feet. Same as the so-called 'Terry' clock.


from the time of the Pilgrims down to the present, much of the everyday utility

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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."


The Workshop

Based in the heart of Kensington, Philip Burke is in the ideal location for servicing clients from around the London area's. If you require a home visit or just want some advice on your antique furniture please do not hesitate to get in touch.


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Philip Burke.
2B Russell Garden Mews,
W14 8EU.

Phone: 0207 603 1100
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