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