A FEDERAL BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY, SATINWOOD AND CASUARINA VENEERED WORK TABLE
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ERIC MARTIN WUNSCH
A FEDERAL BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY, SATINWOOD AND CASUARINA VENEERED WORK TABLE

ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS SEYMOUR (1771-1848), POSSIBLY WITH JOHN SEYMOUR (1738-1818), BOSTON, 1805-1812

Details
A FEDERAL BRASS-MOUNTED MAHOGANY, SATINWOOD AND CASUARINA VENEERED WORK TABLE
ATTRIBUTED TO THOMAS SEYMOUR (1771-1848), POSSIBLY WITH JOHN SEYMOUR (1738-1818), BOSTON, 1805-1812
appears to retain its original brasses; the top drawer opening to reveal a ratcheted writing stand
29 1/2 in. high, 21 3/8 in. wide, 17 1/8 in. deep
Provenance
Mrs. Elihu Greene, née Matilda Ray Sumner (1810-1898), Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts, Cincinnati, Ohio and Los Angeles, California
Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1941
Richard S. du Pont, Newark, Delaware
Israel Sack, Inc., New York


Literature
Mrs. Russel Hastings, "Some Franklin Memorabilia Emerge in Los Angeles," The Magazine Antiques (September 1941), p. 147. fig. 6.
Vernon C. Stoneman, John and Thomas Seymour: Cabinetmakers in Boston 1794-1816 (Boston, 1959), p. 240, cat. no. 153.
Vernon C. Stoneman, A Supplement to John and Thomas Seymour: Cabinetmakers in Boston 1794-1816 (Boston, 1965), p. 77, no. 52.
Jonathan L. Fairbanks, Paul Revere's Boston 1735-1818 (Boston, 1975), p. 172, cat. no. 258.
Robert D. Mussey, Jr., The Furniture Masterworks of John & Thomas Seymour (Salem, 2003), pp. 111, 300-301, 458 (fn. 30), cat. 83.
Exhibited
Los Angeles, California, Los Angeles County Museum, circa 1941.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Paul Revere's Boston 1735-1818, 18 April - 12 October 1975.

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Lot Essay

Displaying exquisite design, masterful craftsmanship and remarkable condition, this work table is an outstanding survival from the Seymour shop of Boston, one of the most accomplished cabinet shops of early nineteenth-century America. The brass hardware with ring pulls and the brass paw feet are original and illustrate the influence of the au courant fashions of the British Regency style. As discussed by Robert Mussey, the applied brass ornament suggests a post-1808 date, when John Seymour (1738-1818) retired and his son Thomas (1771-1848) assumed control of the family business. While Seymour furniture of this period frequently displays similar ring pulls, the scrolled design of the pressed-backs seen on the table offered here is unique in the known Seymour oeuvre. Like many of the shop’s work tables, the top drawer is fitted with a writing surface covered with baize on a ratcheted support. Here, the old baize is noted by Mussey to be possibly original (Robert D. Mussey, Jr., The Furniture Masterworks of John & Thomas Seymour (Salem, 2003), p. 301).

The table’s wood use and construction further demonstrate the high quality workmanship of the Seymour shop. In addition to mahogany, the table is veneered with satinwood and Casuarina and its interior crafted with finely dovetailed mahogany boards. The lunette inlay running along the outer edge of the top is perhaps the most recognizable feature associated with the Seymour shop. While the design was widely used and imported from inlay specialists, the Seymours are known to have made their own lunette inlay as revealed by a single tool mark from a rotating bit seen on another work table (Mussey, pp. 316-317, cat. 91). The lunette design on the work table offered here is one of their more sophisticated examples. Each lunette consists of three bands and burnt in hot sand, the inner and outer bands have graduated shading on the right side, while the middle band is similarly shaded on the left side. Such precise modeling creates a three-dimensional effect and shows the Seymour shop at its best (Mussey, p. 92).

As noted by Mrs. Russel Hastings in 1941, the table was among the possessions of Mrs. Elihu Greene of Cincinnati and taken by her to Los Angeles in 1894. Mrs. Greene has been identified as Matilda Ray Sumner (1810-1898) who in 1830 married Elihu Greene (1802-1878) of Rhode Island. Matilda was born in Boston and the table may have been made for her parents, architect Thomas Waldron Sumner (1768-1849) and Elizabeth Hubbard (1770-1839), who later moved to Brookline, Massachusetts.
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