The Pilgrim Century

The Nicholas Disbrowe Chest, 1660

  • Nicholas Disbrowe is the first known American maker
  • Oak, frame-and-panel construction
  • Uncompromisingly rectangular
  • Similar to earlier English oak styles, but distinctive Connecticut Valley, Hadley style
  • This piece shows the chest becoming a chest of drawers
  • Tulip motit carved over entire loot

Much early American furniture came here with the first immigrants, including, most famously, the Pilgrims. They brought-and then made-oak pieces typical of the Jacobean, William and Mary, and Carolean periods in Britain; pieces that retained a strong Gothic influence, sturdy pieces, heavily carved pieces, pieces with cup-turned legs and bun feet. Much of the work from this Early Colonial Period is representative of a utilitanan life.

The Elder Brewster Chair, ca. 1650

  • Wainscot constructed oak (wainscot means "wagon oak" and refers to the paneling)
  • Joiner's work
  • Framed construction, pinned for strength
  • Bold turnings
  • Heavily carved
  • Stout stretchers
  • Less heavily carved chairs of the same construction are common
  • Reminiscent of eatlier British chairs in the Gothic style
  • Pinned mortise-and-tenon construction
  • Bracketed legs
  • Post assembly carving (as on old chests)

"Bihle" Box, 1670

  • As with most boxes of the period, this one is nailed together
  • Oak throughout, but many boxes were made of pine or with top and bottom of pine
  • Lunette and flute carvings were simple and geometrically based
  • Overhanging, cleated top

Dining Table, ca. 1700


  • Strap carving on front apron
  • Simple turning with square ends on legs
  • Stout stretchers ■ Edge-joined top

The Mahogany Period, 1702-1780

Cupids Bow Top Rails
  • Typical Chippendale style
  • Mahogany
  • Square- back
  • Cupid-bow crest rail
  • Pierced and carved splat
  • Highly carved, squared-off cabriole front legs
  • Ball and claw feet
  • Stump rear legs
Desene Fete Pinterest

Savery-style "tongue" carving on knee

The Mahogany Period (late Colonial), covering the first half of the 18th century, roughly parallels the periods known in Britain as Queen Anne and Georgian. Walnut gave way to mahogany as the predominant wood, and the beginning of the period saw a sudden simplification of style into a less ornamented and more severely elegant aesthetic. Perhaps the most typical element is the cabriole leg, at first plain and finished with a simple turned pad foot, and later developing into a highly carved element complete with ball-and-claw, hairy-paw, or lion's foot. Furniture was made by cabinetmakers rather than joiners, and the list of American Chippendales is long (Thomas Chippendale was the most famous English cabinetmaker of the period and by whose name furniture of the middle of the period is often known). It includes the God-dards and Townsends of Newport, R.I., and many notable Philadelphia makers, including William Savery, Thomas Affleck, and Benjamin Randolph.

Arm terminal volute

Kneeholc Desk (liuri'aii), ca. 176.1

• Made by John Townsend of • Single, wide drawer

Newport, R.I.

  • Mahogany, with poplar as a secondary wood
  • Block and shell front
  • Shell carved kneehote door
  • Bracket feet
  • Solid top
  • Two tiers of narrow drawers
  • Closely related to the highboy on the opposite page, this is essentially the lower half of a chest on chest with a knee-hole cupboard

Savery-style "tongue" carving on knee

  • Typical Chippendale style
  • Mahogany
  • Square- back
  • Cupid-bow crest rail
  • Pierced and carved splat
  • Highly carved, squared-off cabriole front legs
  • Ball and claw feet
  • Stump rear legs
  • Rectilinear seat

High (lust of Drawers (Higliboy), ca. 1770

  • High style work typical of Philadelphia cabinetmakers
  • Chest-on-chest, double case construction
  • Richly carved, broken scroll bonnet
  • Carved comers
  • Carved cabnole legs with ball and-clnw feet at front and back
  • Sophisticated proportions, progressively graduated drawers
  • Veneered cascwork

William Savery A rmchair, ca. 17SO

  • Typical Queen Anne style
  • Mahogany
  • Rounded back
  • Rain, profiled splat
  • Not much carving, except fot volutes and shells
  • Cabriole front legs
  • Simple tnfid feet

Tea Table, ca. 1750

Tea Table, ca. 1780

  • Philadelphia-round • Tilting top •VP« • Fluted pillar
  • Mahogany . R|(.hly cafVed legs
  • quot;Pie crust" scalloped . Tnpod ^


Dibujos Mesas Madera
  • New England-rectangular style
  • Maple; originally painted red
  • Markedly slender cabriole legs
  • Pad feet
  • Deeply scalloped apron

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