OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE: PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PATRICIA M. SAX
Sofas of this general design must have been especially popular, as a number of examples have appeared. Although most have been attributed to New York, occasional examples have been assigned to Boston or Philadelphia, but with no apparent and justifiable reason. The sofas vary considerably, some having flattened and paneled crest rails (for example, one formerly in the collection of James Ricau, Piermont, New York [see Berry B. Tracy and William Gerdts, Classical America 1815-1845, exhib. cat. (The Newark Museum, New Jersey, 1963), p.63, no. 57]) that represent a retardataire element that demonstrates how these sofas evolved from the earlier design of New York sofas of about 1810-15 (see Nancy McClelland, Duncan Phyfe and the English Regency 1795-1830 [William R. Scott, Inc., New York, 1939], p. 277 pl. 264). Others, like the present examples, incorporate a crest rail that is circular in section along both the sides and the back that effectively contributes to the success of their unified composition. It is indeed the simplicity of their design that is their most arresting feature, although their freestanding columns are ornamented with French ormolu capitals and bases of very fine quality.
Oftentimes, the only other decorative devices above and beyond the use of beautifully figured mahogany and mahogany veneers are their carved feet, where considerable variation has been noted, some of which seem too vertical in composition, others of which display a mixture of carved designs that are not well integrated. The feet on the present near pair of box sofas represent the most beautiful design of support that has been encountered in sofas of this form, with tightly organized acanthus carvings surmounting melon-lobed feet, all of which sit on gilt-brass castors whose presence suggests that the sofas, like much furniture of this period, were meant to be able to be moved around with ease when occasion demanded.
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