1105
1105

DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN FURNITURE AND FOLK ART FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANNIE ABRAM AND STEVE NOVAK

Exceptional Federal School Girl Paint-Decorated Figured Maple Work Table, Coastal Maine, Circa 1800
Estimate
20,00030,000
JUMP TO LOT
1105

DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN FURNITURE AND FOLK ART FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANNIE ABRAM AND STEVE NOVAK

Exceptional Federal School Girl Paint-Decorated Figured Maple Work Table, Coastal Maine, Circa 1800
Estimate
20,00030,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Americana

|
New York

Exceptional Federal School Girl Paint-Decorated Figured Maple Work Table, Coastal Maine, Circa 1800
appears to retain its original surface.
Height 28 1/4 in. by Width 20 1/4 in. by Depth 14 1/2 in.
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Provenance

Nathan Liverant and Son Antiques, LLC., Colchester, Connecticut.

Catalogue Note

Retaining its original finish and painted surface, this worktable is an extraordinary survival. It represents a specialized furniture form introduced during the Federal period to serve as a sewing table and storage bin for needlework supplies. Tables of this type were usually found in sitting rooms frequented by the mistress of the household where they served as objects of visual pleasure as well as expressions of leisure and refined needle-working skills. Most were painted by students at the female academies, which flourished after 1800 throughout America, from Maine to Kentucky. In addition to knitting, sewing, and ornamental needlework, the students at these academies were instructed in drawing in India ink and painting in watercolors, usually on paper or velvet but also at academies in New England on boxes or tables obtained from local cabinetmakers.1 Worktables like this one required a semester of classes to complete and were prized by proud parents, who often placed them prominently in the front parlor.2 Also a symbol of the commencement of female formal education, these worktables are amongst the most compelling and desirable of Federal-era furniture today.

Although not associated with a specific school, this worktable displays painted decoration characteristic of the products of these academies. Its functional form is overlaid with painted decoration on the highly figured tiger maple ground. The top is ornamented with a picturesque landscape probably derived from period etchings, engravings or one of the many drawing instruction books of the period. The front and sides of the table display trophies of musical instruments and garlands of flowers. Vines trail down the turned legs, which add a delicacy to the refinement of the design.

A New England worktable at Yale University is nearly identical and features very similar painted decoration including trophies on the rails and vines painted on the legs.3  Three closely related chamber tables were decorated by students at the Bath Female Academy in Bath, Maine in 1815-1816.  One at Winterthur Museum is inscribed “Rachel H. Lombard, Bath, January 1816.”4 Another at Winterthur is inscribed “Executed By Wealthy P.S. Jones, Bath, March 6th, 1815.”5 A third example was included in Simple Forms and Vivid Colors: An Exhibition of Maine Painted Furniture, 1800-1850 held at the Maine State Museum in 1983.6

1 Dean Fales, Jr., American Painted Furniture (New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1972), p. 177.
2 Cynthia Schaffner and Susan Klein, American Painted Furniture, 1790-1880 (Clarkson Potter, 1997), p. 31.
3 See David Barquist, American Tables and Looking Glasses (New Haven, CT: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992): no. 150, pp. 276-7.
4 See Charles Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period (New York: The Viking Press, 1966), p. 462-3, no. 478.
5 See ibid, p. 463, no. 479.
6 See Edwin Churchill, Simple Forms and Vivid Colors: An Exhibition of Maine Painted Furniture, 1800-1850 (Augusta, ME: Maine State Museum, 1983): no. 1, pp. 11-12.

Important Americana

|
New York