Diplomatic Reception Rooms

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Object Details

Maker
Stephen Young and Moses Young (Cabinetmakers, partnership 1804-1824)
Date
ca. 1808-1818
Geography
United States: New York: New York City
Culture
North American
Medium
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; soft maple; eastern white pine; yellow-poplar
Dimensions
Overall: 28 9/16 in x 35 5/16 in; 72.54875 cm x 89.69375 cm
Provenance
In the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Tener in 1938; purchased at auction in the Lancaster area by R.T. Trump & Co.; to the Fine Arts Committee through purchase
Inscriptions
Paper label on the underside of drawer, "STEPHEN/ AND/ MOSES YOUNG'S/ Cabinet and Chair Ware-House/ BROAD STREET/ 79 New-York. S. Gould and Co.;" initials of an early owner "LGB" stamped beneath the flyleaf and on the fly support
Credit Line
Funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. J. Bruce Bredin
Collection
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Accession Number
RR-1967.0055

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American Classical Carved and Figured Mahogany Card Table

American Classical Carved and Figured Mahogany Card Table

Unknown
ca. 1805-1820
wood; mahogany; mahogany veneer; satinwood veneer; yellow-poplar; birch; eastern white pine

Object Essay

When first published in 1938, this table served as a reminder that not all pieces in the Duncan Phyfe manner came from his workshop. In addition to his establishment of over one hundred workmen, there were other New York City cabinetmakers during the early years of the 19th century who had their own shops and worked in the distinctive style once considered the sole property of Phyle.1[According to Richmond Huntley, “Stephen and Moses Young also worked in Phyfe Manner,” American Collector 6, No. 12 (January, 1938), 5.] Were it not for the paper label found on this breakfast table, it, too, would have long since been attributed to Phyfe or his “school.” To Charles F. Montgomery, however, “perhaps no furniture is so typical of New York cabinetmaking in the second decade of the 19th century as the pedestal form of tables with long, concaved legs and urn shaft made by Duncan Phyfe and his contemporaries.”2Montgomery 1966, 332.

In fact, many similar tables have been located, and one bearing the paper label of Phyfe’s contemporary Michael Allison is virtually identical to this one.3The paper label on this table reads “M. ALLISON’S/Cabinet Warehouse/42 AND 44 VESEY STREET/NEW-YORK.” Made between 1808 and 1815, this table was originally owned by the Crocheron family of Staten Island, and was later sold by Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York (illustrated in DAPC). A third nearly identical table is illustrated in Charles O. Cornelius’s Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe and attributed to that maker, but with no documentation.4Cornelius, pl. xxix.

The Collection’s table is the only known object made by the Young brothers. According to city directories, the Youngs began their partnership in 1804 at 73 Broad Street, in the heart of the New York City cabinetmaking district. Their shop was located at the address on this label, 79 Broad Street, from 1810 to 1818. After twenty years in business together, Moses Young retired from cabinetmaking. He pursued the mahogany trade for two more years, while his brother continued as a cabinetmaker until 1835.

Tables of this form served a variety of functions: as card and occasional tables as well as breakfast tables. In an age before dining rooms and dining tables became common, such smaller tables were kept in parlors or hallways to be pulled out when needed.

Page Talbott

Excerpted from Clement E. Conger, et al. Treasures of State: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U.S. Department of State. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1991.