There are many iterations of this sofa, and this is the very best of its type. The carving on the crest is as complex as it gets and carved to absolute perfection. The arm supports are beautifully defined with reeding almost vanishing to the top of the arm, and finished as if it were jewelry. Note the top of each of the reeded legs with the compressed serrated donut; this feature, although seemingly small is one of the nuances that makes for “the best of the form”. In his book, The World of Duncan Phyfe, Stuart Feld illustrates a chair with this similar feature, and questions the work as possibly attributable to Lannuier, the celebrated French ébéniste in New York. Another related example, without the added feature, is illustrated in Charles Montgomery, American Furniture The Federal Period 1788-1825. Even Albert Sack’s “masterpiece” example in this school matches ours on many points, but falls short in the detail of the fine carving on the leg (see New Fine Points of Furniture scan below).
The surface is an old grunge surface that has been polished over for many years. The fabric is silk, the casters are all original and large scale. The sofa is extremely comfortable, and can be appropriately decorated with pillows at the ends. It truly is a masterpiece.
This was a major piece in the Dr. William Thomas Thorworth Collection, see below.