Plate X Li X Buffet

PLATE L.

SERVING TABLE

PLATE L.

SERVING TABLE

motives were much in vogue. Of French origin, these motives were coming over at about this time and with the prosperous years succeeding the war these two decorative motives, one symbolic of glory or victory, the other symbolizing plenty and fruitfulness, the results of successful war, were popular. We know that one of the suites comprising these details was made about 1817.

The decorative details of the Sheraton sofas would bespeak a date between 1800 and 1813, when combined with purely Sheraton form. However, their employment on the small Empire sofa (Plate XVIII) would suggest that Phyfe felt their quality so lasting as not to be affected by fads or styles, and he has retained them here. We may conclude that it is impossible to date Phyfe furniture exactly from the decorative elements alone,but only from a combination of the furniture form and decoration. And even this method is not wholly satisfactory, for we know that some of the simple Sheraton Pembroke tables were made as late as 1820. It is well, therefore, not to be too meticulous in dating the furniture of his good periods, but rather to relate its changes purely stylistically, and date it all between 1800 and 1825, although that with Empire features may be placed after 1813.

THE FURNITURE

tables

The number and variety of Phyfe's tables are so great as to render very difficult their classification into groups from which there shall not be a number of exceptions. The uses for which these tables were made are many. There are card, console, and library tables, dining, serving, and sofa tables, sewing, dressing, writing tables, and candle-stands.

In general structural form, they fall into one of three types: the first, with legs at the corners; the second, supported upon a pedestal of one sort or another; the third, supported at the ends. They differ very much in the shape of the tops, in the treatment of the supporting elements of legs and pedestals, as well as in the inclusion of drawers.

The first type, the earliest stylistically though not necessarily chronologically, is supported on straight reeded legs. It includes the fine Sheraton card tables such as those illustrated in Plates XIX and XX, the Pembroke

table with reeded legs (Plate XXII), the dining-tables such as that in Plate XXIII, and the game table (Plate XXI). Here we have simple, straightforward table construction, carefully studied for stability and use, the proportions beautifully balanced and the decoration suppressed. The legs are generally reeded and end in the typical turned member at the bottom. The skirtings are veneered and have a narrow border whose grain runs in a different direction from that of the rest of the wood. The corner blocks are either veneered or carved with small panel decoration. The tops are often shaped in the clover-leaf pattern and the edges of the tops are not often reeded.

The significant points for attribution are the construction details, the typical carved or veneered ornament, the turned member at the bottom of the reeded legs, and the subtle curve in the clover-leaf top.

The three finest tables in the type are the game table in Plate XXI and the card tables in Plates XX and XIX. The game table exhibits not only ingenuity in its arrangement, but great beauty of line and proportion. The removable top, baize-covered on one side, hides a backgammon board sunk below the surface. The points are inlaid in ivory, alternating white and green, and little ivory sockets around the edge receive the scoring pegs. A small drawer at the right of each player is for the counters. Below the central portion of the skirting, between the drawer fronts, is concealed a chess board which slides out and is placed over the backgammon board, whose space it fits exactly, lying flush with the top. Nothing could be simpler, nothing more perfectly adapted to use. The corner blocks are veneered with the small rectangle with concave corners.

The two card tables are purely Sheraton, the one with light mahogany veneer on the skirt enhanced by veneered blocks, the other with carved central and corner blocks, the latter with the Prince of Wales feathers. The clover-leaf tops show the subtle curve mentioned as a Phyfe characteristic.

The Pembroke tables, such as that in Plate XXII, contain one drawer whose front is edged by a half-round fillet. The corner blocks are veneered.

The fine dining table (Plate XXIII), is enriched only by a narrow banding of dark wood at the bottom of the skirt, this banding running across the blocks above the legs in place of a veneered rectangle.

A variation of this four-legged type of table is seen in a pair of flap-leaf console tables whose corners are cut off at a 45° angle, the legs set at this angle and composed of a reverse curve decorated with acanthus joining with the dog's leg and foot. Medallions above are carved with rosettes, while the central block has a panel of carved drapery swags. The edge is not reeded.

The second type, the pedestal table, has two main divisions. In one of these the pedestal is composed of a turned central support from which curving legs spread out. In the second there is a platform which the curving legs support, and upon this platform rests the portion upholding the superstructure of the table.

Within the first group of this type the turned support is designed in several forms, the most usual of which has a

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