• American Furniture Collecting Guide
American Furniture Collecting Guide
17th century, Mannerist image
17th century, Mannerist The Joseph and Bathsheba Pope Oak Valuables Cabinet
Attributed to James Symonds (1633-1714), Salem, Massachusetts, dated 1679
Sold for $2,422,500 January 21, 2000, lot 111
World auction record for any piece of 17th century American furniture

The original surface, no matter how grungy, adds to the value of a piece of furniture. This applies not only to finished surfaces but also to painted surfaces. This piece still had its original surface, which made it highly desirable among collectors and contributed to its record-breaking price.

18th century, Chippendale image
18th century, Chippendale The Verplanck Family Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair
New York City, 1760-1780
Sold for $387,500, October 8, 1997, lot 58

The original surface is important to the value of the object. This example, with its original surface still in tact, created a bidding frenzy in the saleroom as the price realized soared far above its estimate of $50,000-70,000.

Late 17th/early 18th century, Mannerist image
Late 17th/early 18th century, Mannerist A Carved and Painted Oak Hadley Chest-over-Drawers
Hampshire County, Massachusetts, 1680-1730
Sold for $206,000, January 27 and 28, 1995, lot 1028
The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eddy Nicholson

An example of a style of painted furniture. See also images 4 and 5 to see different styles of painted furniture.

Early 19th century, Federal image
Early 19th century, Federal A Set of Six Fancy-Painted Chairs
New England, early 19th century
Sold for $16,450, January 18, 2002, lot 170

A Federal Green-Painted Maple Candlestand
Coastal Long Island Sound, early 19th century
Sold for $14,100, January 18, 2002, lot 341

An example of a style of painted furniture. See also images 3 and 5 to see different styles of painted furniture.

Circa 1800, Chippendale image
Circa 1800, Chippendale A Painted Blanket Chest
Attributed To Johannes Spitler (1774-1837), Massanutten, Virginia, c. 1800
Sold for $12,100, January 26, 1991, lot 305

An example of a style of painted furniture. See also images 3 and 4 to see different styles of painted furniture.

18th century, Queen Anne image
18th century, Queen Anne A Queen Anne Japanned Maple High Chest-of-Drawers
Boston, 1735-1745
Sold for $215,000, January 18, 2001, lot 54

This example is one of only a handful of known American japanned Queen Anne bonnet top high-chests and ranks among the great rarities in American furniture. While much of the original japanned surface has been lost or abraded due to storage beside a chimney flue, the dramatic black and red tortoiseshell ground color is still apparent under the original brasses. It is among only a few examples of 18th-century American japanning to survive without any apparent treatment or restoration.

19th century, Classical image
19th century, Classical A Classical Marbleized and Grained Stenciled Pier Table
Decoration possibly by Hugh Finlay (1781-1831), Baltimore, 1820-1825
Sold for $46,000, October 8, 1998, lot 71

The delicately stenciled gilt motifs, faux-rosewood surfaces and marbleized top on this piece demonstrates the elaborate painting techniques that are characteristic of the Classical period. The finely executed stenciling that embellishes the table's skirt and base, features standard Classical motifs such as laurel wreaths, leaves, anthemions and scrolls. The faux-rosewood and faux-marble surfaces are exquisitely done and are fine examples of 19th-century painting techniques.

19th century, Federal image
19th century, Federal A Federal Giltwood and Églomisé Looking Glass
Albany or New York City, 1800-1810
Sold for $44,650, October 5, 2000, lot 118

The illustrated Federal mirror bears characteristics associated with New York models such as the decoration above the frame, the urn finials with protruding ears issuing, and wire floral sprays.

18th century, Chippendale image
18th century, Chippendale A Pair of Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chairs
Boston or Salem, 1770-1790
Sold for $189,500, January 18, 1997, lot 191

Carving became prevalent in the Chippendale and Revival styles of the 19th century. Each region shows its specific carving characteristics and the hand of the cabinetmaker. Certain regions preferred exuberant carving, others preferred restrained versions. The high ball with long slender claws spaced widely apart with rear talon angled backward is typical of the Boston region. The knee carving shows tight acanthus foliage with C-strolls and sharp edged knees.

18th century, Chippendale image
18th century, Chippendale A Winthrop-Folsom Family Chippendale Carved Mahogany Side Chair
School of Job Townsend, Sr. (1699-1765), Newport, c. 1750
Sold for $182,000, October 5, 2000, lot 95

Carving became prevalent in the Chippendale and Revival styles of the 19th century. Each region shows its specific carving characteristics and the hand of the cabinetmaker. Certain regions preferred exuberant carving, others preferred restrained versions. Characteristics of the Newport region are crisply modeled talons curved out and away from the ball and the knee shows a stylized scroll design.

18th century, Chippendale image
18th century, Chippendale The Verplanck Family Chippendale Carved
Mahogany Side Chair
New York City, 1760-1780
Sold for $387,500, October 8, 1997, lot 58

Carving became prevalent in the Chippendale and Revival styles of the 19th century. Each region shows its specific carving characteristics and the hand of the cabinetmaker. Certain regions preferred exuberant carving, others preferred restrained versions. Furniture from the New York region shows powerful squarish feet. The surprisingly elegant knee carving consists of C-strolls and tattered acanthus.

18th century, Queen Anne image
18th century, Queen Anne A Queen Anne Carved Walnut Side Chair Philadelphia, 1740-1755
Sold for $666,000, January 18, 2002, lot 357

Carving became prevalent in the Chippendale and Revival styles of the 19th century. Each region shows its specific carving characteristics and the hand of the cabinetmaker. Certain regions preferred exuberant carving, others preferred restrained versions. Furniture from the Philadelphia region shows sturdy claws grasping flattened smaller ball with heavy knee carving of flowing foliage.

18th century, Queen Anne image
18th century, Queen Anne A Queen Anne Walnut Veneered High Chest-of-Drawers
Boston, 1725-1735
Sold for $204,000, October 5, 2000, lot 75

Featuring a gilt-stenciled shell, walnut veneer and decorative banding, this high chest is considered a fashionable early Queen Anne example. The cabinetmaker of this high chest may have been influenced by japanned Boston high chests with gilded and carved shells.

19th Century, Federal image
19th Century, Federal The Hewlett Family Federal Inlaid Mahogany Eight-Legged Sideboard
New York City, 1790-1810
Sold for $299,500, January 21, 2000, lot 159

Few cabinetmakers in Federal New York were able to achieve the mastery of form and ornament exhibited in the illustrated sideboard. Its undulating facades and lexicon of inlaid ornament were difficult, time consuming, and materially, very costly to produce. Not many are thought to have been produced and fewer have survived.