PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PATRICIA M. SAX
This table is attributed to the firm of Brazilia Deming (1781-1854) and Erastus Bulkley (1798-1872), accomplished New York cabinetmakers who supplied their high style fashionable furniture to New York patrons as well as to a clientele in Charleston, where they had a retail establishment on King Street from 1818 to the 1840s. This table is likely the one that appears in an interior photograph taken in circa 1900 of the Miles Brewton House on King Street in Charleston.1 The Pringle family owned the Miles Brewton House at the time and they were known to have been patrons of Deming and Bulkley. A rosewood and satinwood veneer card table with a history in the Alston-Pringle family of Charleston survives with an attribution to Deming and Bulkley.2 The center table is identified in the caption in the parlor of the “Pringle Mansion … the finest house in the city” as the “Late Empire Table … on the Right.”
Deming and Bulkley made a very similar center table in 1828 for Stephen D. Miller (1787-1838), governor of South Carolina.3 With its three-sided concave support and base supported by lion’s paw feet, the table follows a design for a monopodium table illustrated by Thomas Hope in Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807, pl. 39).4 The decoration also closely follows the Hope design and the design for a center table illustrated by Rudolph Ackermann in Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics (1825).5 The decorative painters in the Deming and Bulkley shop used three types of freehand gilding to imitate carving, ormolu mounts and die-cut metal inlay. In a letter accompanying the table when it was shipped to Miller’s home near Camden, South Carolina, Deming and Bulkley noted “The other box alluded to is that which contains the top to the centre table. It is of the very finest Egyptian marble and the finest piece by far that we have ever met with.”6 Deming and Bulkley were commissioned by Hugh Swinton Ball to make a center table and all of the other furnishings for his house in Charleston. His estate valued at nearly $100,000 included the center table, several pier tables with marble tops, a set of dining tables, a marble slab table among other fine furnishings.7
1 See Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York, 1928): fig. 1054-58.
2 See Maurie D. McInnis and Robert A. Leath in “Beautiful Specimens, Elegant Patterns: New York Furniture for the Charleston Market, 1810-1840,” American Furniture 1996, edited by Luke Beckerdite (Hanover and London: the Chipstone Foundation), p. 138, fig. 1.
3 See ibid, p. 154, fig. 11.
4 See ibid, p. 155, fig. 12.
5 See ibid, p. 155, fig. 14.
6 Ibid, p. 155.
7 Ibid, p. 153.
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