Sunday, October 2, 2011

More than likely...

This Bureau was probably made by Thomas Day. The curvature pattern of the drawers are almost exact from his copied design. The dressing above the framed rotating mirror is similar to his design. However, due to the fact that many cabinet makers were mass producing this same style there is a chance this is not a piece of his work.

Scroll foot extending up the bureau is another characteristic of Thomas Day's work. Notice the Mahoghany veneer. This was attached with hot glue that when cooled adhered to the yellow pine almost seamlessly. Sometimes water seeps in and expands the pine causing the veneer to split. This is common in this style furniture and is the reason why antique collectors don't like it.
On the side note: check out the feet of the two blanket chests next to it. Both coming from Bethania at relatively the same time, 1750's. The bottom has a European turn and the top is a bracket foot. Both of these pieces were singed almost to beyond repair in a fire in Bethania.

Here notice the precision of dovetailing. These joints are very narrow and this takes more time and adds a tighter more elegant look to the furniture.

Here the edges have been planed down by hand and the joining is more precise. This occurs on all the drawers. This piece may have been made before the furniture processing mills. The mills would cut a dato with a routing bit to produce the joints quicker. This beveled edge joining style was not common to Thomas Day, but there is no proof that this piece was not made by him. Perhaps this is an earlier experimental piece.

Experimentation is not uncommon in furniture making. This is evident in corner cupboard construction by James Gheen of old salem. Gheen was a cabinet maker and is best known for his high chest of drawers.  The detail I am referring to is the feet of the corner cupboard. Certain cupboards exist that are absent of feet, where the cupboard base sits flush with the ground. This may have been a result of Gheen's uncertainity in consistent termination to the cupboard's frame. This is a form of experimentation.

Here is the base of the Gheen piece. We know it has always set straight to the ground because of the even porous ware around the base. You can see where the base molding has been removed. The base molding was put on at a later date than the cupboard was made. We know this because the connection of the base molding to the vertical molding element is not mitered on a 45 degree angle. The connections on the rest of piece are mitered. So to have a vertical element of molding that terminates at the base would not fit Gheen's style or the balance of the cupboard itself. Gheen had a very authentic foot that he placed on his chests. This is further proof of experimentation.

No comments:

Post a Comment