This sophisticated mahogany bedstead displays design elements consistent with the fine craftsmanship of John (1738-1818) and Thomas Seymour (1771-1849) of Boston. The precisely executed acanthus carving and reeding, use of rich materials, and unity of form are common in their shop practice. In particular, the acanthus-leaf and reeding of the lower footposts follows a familiar pattern executed by Thomas Wightman, the English trained carver responsible for the high style carving in the Seymour shop from circa 1797 to 1815. He executed related carving on several mahogany sideboards that are firmly attributed to the Seymours, including one in the collection of Mark and Sandra Keily, one in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one at the Peabody Essex Museum, and one in a private collection.1
A related bedstead at Winterthur Museum attributed to John and Thomas Seymour with carving attributed to Thomas Wightman has similar carved foot posts with elongated reeded vase turnings.2 It survived with a history in the Derby family and may have been one of the six bedsteads in the estate inventory of Elizabeth Derby West of Salem and Danvers.
1 See Robert D. Mussey Jr., The Furniture Masterworks of John & Thomas Seymour (Salem: Peabody Essex Museum, 2003, no. 44, pp. 222-3, no. 43, pp. 220-1, no. 41, pp. 216-7, and no. 37, p. 208-9.
2 see Ibid, no. 151, p. 436-7.