American Furniture By E. T. Joy

... passing of the Empire fashion about 1840. Rare today.

Spanish foot:

a William and Mary, also early Queen Anne, chair or table (not, with vertical ribs somewhat like a hand resting on its finger knuckles (Fig. 17). An important detail of rlegance in American furniture (c. 1700-25).


the simple, hand- or foot-driven wheel for spinning yarn or thread was used in American houses often to the end of the eighteenth century. Many excellent examples survive.


seat made of thin interlaced hickory or oak strips. Much used in early American chairs, stools and settees of simple type. Still popular today in the kitchen.


ornamental turning resembling a row of knobs or spools. Often used for AmeriĀ¬can Empire table legs and early to mid-nineteenth-century head- and foot-boards of beds. Very popular today.


colloquially said of a Queen Anne chair with a back, curved like a spoon, conforming to the human back.


ornaments often inlaid or painted on clocks, mirrors, tables, desk tops, etc, usually celebrating the number of States in the Union. The date of the article is some-times traceable to the number of stars thus employed: the thirteenth state, Rhode Island, being admitted in 1790; the fourteenth, Vermont, in 1791, etc.

Stump feet:

a plain turned foot - the 'stump' of the leg - much used on the back legs of American Queen Anne and Chippen-dale chairs, etc, with cabriole front supports.


English source of the American rising sun ornament (q.v.).


from earliest American times the conventionalized sunflower was a popular carved ornament on Connecticut desks and chests 'q.v.).


see Scroll top.

Sweet gum:

close-grained, silky, red-brcwn American wood easily stained to look like mahogany and sometimes used as a substitute for it in less expensive furniture. Miller says that during the Revolution, when mahogany was not obtainable, American sweet gum wood, then called 'Bilsted', was often used.

Swing-leg table:

a hinged leaf table with a swinging rather than a gate leg. Handsome examples, some of them cabriole, survive.

Tavern table:

small, sturdy, rectangular table on four legs, usually braced , with stretchers. Generally with a drawer or two in the apron (Fig. 18). Much used in eighteenth-century taverns for serving a customer where he was seated.

Tear drop:

see Drop handle.

Tuckaway table:

a hinged-leaf gate-leg table with cross legs which fold into each other as compactly as if tucked away.


a lightweight, softish white wood much used from Rhode Island to South Carolina for linings, etc. Sometimes called poplar. Most of the painted chests and many other painted articles made by the Pennsylvania Germans were of tulip-poplar.


a type of ornamental boss, shaped somewhat like a turtle's back, often applied to Jacobean-style cupboards, etc.


a thin slice of fine, often finely-figured, wood glued upon another wood. First used in America about 1700 in William and Mary style furniture, then in every succeeding style except Chippendale (which was already ornamental enough with-out it). Various handsome effects were obtained -matched grainings, bandings, herring-bone pattern, etc. Veneers in eigh-teenth-century America were often thicker than need be, and so have lasted well.

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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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Phone: 0207 603 1100
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