Over the past 4 years of researching the Philadelphia bed made for General John and Elizabeth Cadwalader only one objection keep coming up.
“The bed is English”.
This has been a frustration as the beds mechanics show clearly that the secondary timbers are traditionally used in American Antique Furniture making unlike the lack of Oak, Pine or Mahogany which is expected to be used on a quality piece like this made in 18th Century Britain.
With all the other research and evidence which clearly connects to the surviving Cadwalader paperwork from the craftsmen involved with the refurbishment of there new 2nd Street home.
They bought 1768 for which they wanted the furniture and interior to have a English feel of the last fashion from the UK but made in Philadelphia.
New evidence came to my attention back in Oct last year thanks to Christopher Storb WordPress ( 30th October 2016) a conservator at The Philadelphia Museum of Art which his blogs on the Strawberry Mansion longcase clock that had been on long-term loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art before going to Christie’s New York for sale No 2414 in 24 January 2011 Lot 59.
From Mr Storb article shows a number of image of the clock hood mainly the facade but for the last one is showing the back and its construction.
The arched section dovetailed across the back got my attention. The markings left by a chip out of a plan iron, marks I had see before and they are very pratical.
I found the clock and got the Curator to send me a wax rubbing of that hole back piece.
This rubbing I took to the bed in storage and did a brown rubbing taken from the back of the bed canopy.
Once done I over layed then to see and they were a perfect match with sizing and execution.
This means one thing that the canopy and clock section had been planed by the same man with the hand tool. In fact the piece on the clock is a off-cut from the bed
This is clear evidence that the bed was made in one workshop in Philadelphia and with the connection and attributation to James Reynolds who carved the clock. Then its more than likely constructed in Benjamin Randolph shop between late 1768 -70.
Scholars have talked about the importance of evidence left by tools marks from the craftsmen in Colonial furniture which again we don’t see on English 18th century period furniture of this quality.
This evidence and method will open up new research plus the opportunity of finding of other Philadelphia piece with these markings which are all time relative that can be put into this one workshop, one craftsmens, one chip plane iron
14 May 2017