The elliptical marble top with reeded edge above a conforming satinwood and mahogany apron centering a rectangular reserve carved with a bow-tied and tasseled swag edged with a brass stringing over a waterleaf-carved urn above a reeded drum, on tripod acanthus-carved and reeded sabre legs with carved lion's paw feet with castors, paper label attached to under side of apron reads Mrs. George Smith/9 BURLINGRAVE/WHITE PLAINS, NY/MURRAY/PHYFE/EARLY AMERICAN
37in. high, 42in. wide, 21 1/8in. deep

Lot Essay

With its satinwood and mahogany drapery swag carved frieze, waterleaf-and-drum carved pedestal, and boldly carved paw-feet, this table combines all of the finest design elements utilized by Duncan Phyfe in the early 19th century. Costly features such as its finely reeded eliptical marble top and brass banded apron would place this table as one of the most expensive forms available. While comparable card tables such as that in the Kaufman Collection (Flanigan, American Furniture in the Kaufman Collection (New York, 1986) pp. 186-187, fig. 74) employ similar proportions and design elements and were made with the dual intention of both function and decoration. More extravagantly, the table illustated here was intended only for decoration.

The swag, waterleaf and drum carvings are motifs associated with Phyfe appearing alone and together in many individual labeled examples as well as in suites of furniture. The elegant swag carved frieze is a more condensed version of a favored motif used widely on chair backs and sofas from this same period. Examples with drapery-swag carved tablets include a caned sofa with double curule-base formerly in the collection of Ronald S. Kane and sold in these Rooms January 22, 1994, lot 339. A similarly carved sofa made by Phyfe for Edward Delafield, includes both the drapery swag as well as the waterleaf carved arms and is illustrated in McClelland, Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency, (New York, 1939), plate 237.

The waterleaf-carved urn was also a favored motif as supports for various forms (see McClelland, p.314) including trestles, pedestals and arms. A card table with four water-leaf carved supports made for the New York city merchant Thomas Cornell Pearsall's city home "Belmont" as part of a suite of furniture ordered from Phyfe is now in a private collection and illustrated in Wendy Cooper,Classical Taste in America, 1800-1840,(Baltimore, 1993)p. 162, fig. 119. For a sewing stand and card table with waterleaf-carved urns see Charles Over Cornelius'sFurniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe (Garden City, New York, 1923) plates XXXIII and XXXV.

The reeded drum-carving appears on the bed posts Phyfe made for his daughter Eliza also illustrated in McClelland, p. 270, pl. 257. Other examples of furnishings with reeded drums include a dining table made for William Gaston of New Jersey (see Comstock, American Furniture (Exton, Pa., 1962 fig. 566); a dining table with drum-carved standard is listed as belonging to Charles Gustavus Smedberg (see McClelland, p. 293, pl. 282) and a tripod table formerly in the collection of Ronald S. Kane, sold in these Rooms, Janusry 22, 1994, lot 410.

A marble top pier table, sold in these Rooms, June 21, 1995, lot 272 is most closely related with it's nearly identical all mahogany frieze. Both pedestals have waterleaf carved urns, reeded drums and downswept reeded legs, while the table shown here has carved paw feet, the table sold in these Rooms has brass-paw feet.

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