With its string-inlaid baluster arms and arched back rail, this sofa is a rare example of Philadelphia craftsmanship. In his discussion of a similar sofa, William MacPherson Hornor cites The 1795 Book of Prices: "An arch in the top rail to answer the arches in square back chairs, extra from straight" to emphasize the co-evolution of sofas and chairs in the eighteenth century. The citation also indicates the additional cost of commissioning the raised central piece in the back (Hornor, Blue Book: Philadelphia Furniture (Washington, D.C., 1977), p.250, pl. 412).
Another comparable Philadelphia example, which appears in Sack, American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, vol. 6, p. 1567, P4634, has a similarly shaped back rail and closely related turned tapering arm supports and square tapering legs. Of narrower proportions, it also differs from the sofa offered here in that it lacks the inlaid ornament.