Typical American Empire Pedestaltable

PINEAPPLE-POST BEDSTEAD WITH THE EARLIER CABRIOLE LEGS Brett House, Boston By Courtesy of the lace Mary H. Northend

American Furniture Png

ACANTHUS-POST BEDSTEAD: A STRICTLY AMERICAN INNOVATION By Courtesy of Estare of James Curran, Philadelphia

álead is more than a survival: it is diálin<5tly a throwback in incongruously adding to these the now long-gone-by Chippendale cabriole leg and claw-and-ball foot.

The sofa was an especially notable piece of furniture during these years and many of them are of transitional ♦character, preserving Direftoire or English Regency features in connexion with Empire size, weight, and detail. Indeed the example in Plate 123 is particularly illuálrative of the inchoateness of the ¿lyle, that I have mentioned, inasmuch as it combines the ornamental contour of the back-rail shown in one of Sheraton's own designs with the Direétoire roll-over arms, and adds to these the especially awkward Empire feet composed of such harmonious elements as the horn-of-plenty and huge paws! Few of these pieces are an entire delight to the eye but that in Plate 125 is notably virile in its sweeping curves. Mr. George Alfred Cluett has a sofa identical with this except that the feet of his example are composed of eagle heads while these are those of the dolphin. The sofa in Plate 126, belonging to the Hammond Eálate, is typical American Empire. The seat alone of this sofa is 8 feet long by 2 feet wide, and its back ¿lands 38 inches from the floor

Typical also of the fully developed ályle are the two pedeálal tables in Plate 120; both excellent pieces of furniture, though the legs of the larger example are lacking in grace of curve.

The bedáleads with acanthus-carved poáls, both high and half-high, are an American innovation, and though heavy are handsome—see Plate 122. Moál of the good examples are probably anterior to 1820 or 1825.

Mahogany of course remained the chosen wood of the period—and superb mahogany it was—but there was &ill a very considerable use of maple.

In chairs the graceful Direffoire form fortunately persisted here, as it did in France. We also find a development—or rather a deterioration—presently to be touched upon.

Of the DireStoire form there were many variations. One of them, made in New York and illustrated in Plate 95, because it is of pure Direfioire contour, may possibly be of these years as it has the American eagle carved in the back. This symbol had been adopted considerably earlier, but especially after the close of the war in 1814 this and other emblems of triumph and prosperity overflowed into all household goods. For throughout those years we were terrifically, noisily, patriotic. This sentiment blossomed forth in every conceivable fashion—in toaSts at social gatherings, in pictures, furniture, pottery, and draperies— even to bed-spreads! Sometimes I wonder if the "cockiness" which those of other nations remark and resent in the American bearing is not the result of this overdose of "national consciousness."

But let us hie back from this debatable theme to that of furniture—in itself quite sufficiently debatable without encouraging flights in other directions.

An attractive example of the persisting Direftoire form of chair, recently seen, has a middle back-piece composed of a central shell flanked by entwined dolphins at each side. The decorated or "fancy" chair illustrated in Plate 118 C preserves the Direftoire curves of back and the overhanging top-rail. The latter continually occurs and, as in this instance, is usually curved inward to afford greater comfort. The painted "fancy" chair was very popular during these

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