In addition to the multiple chair-back settees we find day-beds and window-seats following the various Chippendale phases and also upholstered sofas.
That appearing in Plate 23 A was used in the Executive mansion on High Street during the years that Washington lived in Philadelphia as President of the United States. On his return to Mt. Vernon it was sold to Robert Morris and is now in Independence Hall, having been presented by the Union League. It is a fine example with beautifully designed knee and the paw-foot. The camel-back is the usual pre-Chippendale and Chippendale Style, but the arms here spread rather more than usual. The moSt frequent form of rolled arm is that seen in the next example on the same plate. This has the fretted Straight leg. with Stretchers; but cabriole legs were also used with the same construction of arms and back.
Another type of sofa is a derivation from the Louis XV Style and is naturally very French in general appearance.
The trades of chair-maker and cabinet-maker, previously separate, were united by Chippendale, who not only made all kinds of furniture but in his alliance with Adam supplied draperies and other articles of interior-decoration as well. We naturally expe<5t, therefore, that other legged furniture would closely agree with the various types of chair-legs. Furthermore, as the aprons of tables and legged cabinet-pieces occupy a position similar to the seat-rails of chairs, these follow the same treatment; being plain, or with gadroon moulding, or with carved ornament. It is only necessary then to refer to the various tables in use.
The American dining-tables of this period seem simply to have continued the types of the previous era, being of drop-leaf form like the example on the left wall of Plate 130 or composed of a central table with two separate end-tables, when it was necessary to seat a larger number of persons.
A handsome pier-table is shown in the like position in the Philadelphia Room, frontispiece; but the fine& example known is that from the Cadwalader house, Philadelphia, and now in the Metropolitan Museum (Plate 24). Because of the Gallic freedom shown in the Rococo ornament of this table and some other fine pieces it has been suggested that their carver was of French blood or training, but a glance at but one detail of this table shows Chippendale as its inspiration: whereas in the work of the ebeniMes of Louis XV the shoe is either absent or of modeSt dimensions, Chippendale made of it a feature—and it is repeated here. The swing and lightness evident in this piece are probably due to the freedom of the American interpretation of the Style. Certain it is that some one of our craftsmen had a love for the human face and figure, for one or the other is introduced in several pieces of furniture of this school. These pier-tables frequently had marble tops, as in the illustrated instances.
Was this article helpful?