Diminutive Federal Sheraton Bureau



New York,  1805-1810

The oblong, cross banded top with reeded edge, inlaid with brass stringing on a conforming case with four flat drawers with brass bale handle drawer pulls with stamped brass back plates, flanked by vertical reeding raised on turned and reeded tapering legs terminating in brass ferule socket feet.  The brass drawer pull are original and are impressed “HJ”,(for Thos. Hands & Wm Jenkins, Birmingham England), (1791-1805).  Woods: Mahogany Veneer, White Pine and Tulip Poplar.

H: 36"  W: 36½"  D: 21¼"

Condition: Excellent: The chest has survived in virtually perfect condition.  The brass is all original.  Wood re-finished with shellac in the manner of the period. Brass restored to its original matte and burnished lacquered appearance.

This is a rare form and desirable size.  Indeed, it has no exact counterpart in the literature and museum collections of the period although a similar bureau with an upper layer of short drawers is in the collection of Boscobel Restoration and illustrated in Berry Tracy's Federal Furniture and Decorative Arts at Boscobel (New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1981), p. 97.  The evident entasis of the reeded legs is reminiscent of the legs on a Sheraton scroll-back sofa in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[1]  Stylistically, it is related to the furniture that Duncan Phyfe was making for his client William Bayard in 1807 and a work table that bears Phyfe's label, made about the same time.[2]  The cross banding and brass string inlay of the top is very rare and indicates a high level of refinement and the hand of a top cabinetmaker.  Duncan Phyfe used brass stringing and molding as early at 1810 and very often from 1815 on through 1835.[3] It is used in an identical fashion, running through cross banding, on a Phyfe center table with a radial top, pictured in Peter Kenny, Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York, (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011), 223.




[1] Peter M. Kenny and Michael K. Brown, Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011), p.166-7, pl. 6.

[2] Kenny, p. 158-169.

[3] Kenny, 174, 177, 187, 201, 204-209,  212-223.

Dealer Carswell Rush Berlin, Inc.
Date: 1805-1810
Origin New York
Measurements H: 36"  W: 36½"  D: 21¼"
Inventory View Dealer's Inventory
Website http://www.american-antiques.net
Contact Carswell R. Berlin, 646-645-0404 or  CarswellBerlin@msn.com

Stay up to date with our ADA newsletter.