Pier table

DATE:
c. 1820–1840
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Mahogany veneer, cherry, tropical wood veneer (probably rosewood), yellow poplar, eastern white pine, basswood, and stencil design
CLASSIFICATION:
Furnishings
DIMENSIONS:
36 1/8 × 39 1/8 × 19 in. (91.76 × 99.38 × 48.26 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Decorative Arts and Design
LOCATION:
American Art - 19th Century, Level 4
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Collection
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
OBJECT NUMBER:
1985.B.58

General Description

This pier table is one of the most elaborate surviving examples of its type. Its richly carved and gilded feet, blue marble, ormolu bases and capital, mirrored glass, exotic woods, and stenciled ornamentation make this object extremely expensive. Such opulence reflects the wealth and status of its original owner.

Of the four marble-top pier tables in the Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Collection, this is the most unusual and exciting example. In virtually every respect it differs from the straightforward, textbook examples of the other three. The unknown maker of this highly individualistic table followed no set pattern, or rather he took the basic pattern and changed and exaggerated virtually every feature. In place of the plain, white marble generally used for the top, columns, and pilasters, he used instead an unusual blue-colored variety. The top rests on a deeply ogee molded frame, faced with a marvelously-figured mahogany flame veneer. The base is cut out in highly exaggerated scrolls, emblematic of the pillar and scroll tables and other forms of the late Empire period. The gilded, Ionic scrolled feet resting on smaller, black-painted feet of similar design, must be an invention of the cabinetmaker, as no similar feet have been found on other examples of Philadelphia furniture. The total effect is grand and impressive.

Adapted from

DMA unpublished material.