Important connection to the Cadwalader bed


When in Philadelphia late 1760s

Over last nearly 4 years myself and Ian Coulson have been researching this bed which is made of carved mahogany for the footpost and bolt covers.

Over all the bed has been tested with timber analysis and finish examination both have opened up some very interesting finds. (More to come in the new volume of Mortise and Tenon Magazine)

It was  while I was finishing of this article I came across a piece of furniture which has anomaly that has been recorded on a games table in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Winterthur Museum published The Cadwalader Furniture Study  where they researched and finish tested known Cadawalader piece of furniture out of Museums and Private hands.

This study shows the history of each piece through finishes and repairs, it also openes up new findings regarding leg construction method,  one we have not seen in period furniture making in the UK but there findings also found anomaly on the  underside of the Games table  (PMA).

Last weekend after reading a blog form a furniture Conservator regarding proportion which he uses for his reference a bit of furniture which had sold through a leading American Auctioneers.

It came with a impressive write up regarding its connection to a Carver this by the evidence left by his hand skills. It also stated that it was made in Philadelphia by design and execution plus backed  by independent furniture experts.

While looking closely at these fantastic images which included close up detail shots something  court my eye. It was not the fantastic carved decoration to the facade or the way the finish had broken down with age but for a simple photograph taken showing the back and its construction.

Just a few seconds of looking at the image the anomaly jumped out at me.

Why so quickly because i had seen it before first hand which was when we examined the bed at auction and then closer examination when the showwood of the bed was being restored.

This anomaly felt behind by a craftsmen and his tool in the preparation of the timber on the piece taken from the blog is more than likely to be the same timber aa used on the carved removable showwood canopy of the bed. Its shows the same dark staining and light colour orange timber on the edges leaving us to believe that the bed canopy and the piece from the saleroom are from the same workshop in Philadelphia circa late 1766s to 1770.

We can now  add two fully documented bits of furniture connected to Philadelphia and with them add the bed and all its evidence to the fact that all three came from the same workshop.

Research is still on going.

“A Table to Suit”

This is great opportunity to look at a early period tables machinics

In Proportion to the Trouble


In January we had the opportunity to examine a c. 1715 Delaware River Valley dressing table at Christie’s. Furniture historians have been aware of this table since the publication of Wallace Nutting’s Furniture of the Pilgrim Century 1620-1720 in 1921. It was subsequently illustrated as plate 394 in Nutting’s Furniture Treasury, at the time in the collection of Edward C. Wheeler. Jr. of Boston. Two related tables with similar leg and stretcher designs but with the more common three drawer facade are in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Chipstone. I think the cataloged date range is too broad. 1700 would be a very early date for a London version, perhaps 1710-1720 is a more accurate date range.

PMA.1925-69-1 Philadelphia Museum of Art

Table 2

At Christie’s the table shared an alcove with a pair of Philadelphia compassed chairs and was spot-lit like a movie star, which…

View original post 404 more words

Opinions of Antique Furniture from Photos

It’s been half term week and I have had to entertain one 11 year old daughter who came up with the goods yesterday.

While at school she has been working with The Young Journalist Academy were she had been given hand outs as well as learning how to present a article and be on the radio.

As I had two articles to write yesterday she came to help and put me in the right direction a couple of times which really did help me.

In are modern world we are flooded with images of products which we need so we are told. From the TV our computers or phones to magazine  and news papers and they are everywhere to which we automatically make our opinions.

It’s very easy to find a photo of a antique piece of furniture for research or if you are looking to buy we make a opinion with in seconds before we have done due diligence of physical examining the machinics of that piece.

We don’t judge a book by its cover so we also should not do the same with furniture.

The machinics are the most important eg. What timber has been used 1,2 or 3 different woods?

Is there any restoration, Are the drawers joints sides and bottom all the same.

Are the brass furniture correct or replacement  etc etc.

To make a judgement from a image of the fasard is very dangerous or us as monies or for scholars or historians before they experience first hand the feel, smell and physically everdense of the construction and once there decision is  made you’ll find it very difficult for them to say they made a mistake.

So its important to physical look at the piece, even take your restorer to help you look because if we don’t take care and obsorb before a decision is made you could loose a important piece of history or buy something which has no value.