Mathew Wolf and Michael Diaz-Griffith with the Acme of Perfection Tea Table


Mathew Wolf and Michael Diaz-Griffith explore beauty from another period through the Acme of Perfection Tea Table. Amongst the most important pieces of furniture to survive from Colonial America, this tea table stands at the apogee of Philadelphia Rococo craftsmanship in addition to serving as a masterpiece for the tilt-top tea table form. It is a rare document of the “Garvan high chest carver,” the finest native carver working in America during the eighteenth century. It represents his accomplished early work of the 1750s and serves as a veritable palette for his carving excellence and mastery of design.

In 1935, William MacPherson Hornor aptly published this table as “The Acme of Perfection in American Piecrust Tables” in Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture and further praised its “Magnificent Base” as well as the “Marked Originality Obtained by the Cartouch Knee Carving, and Further Richness Gained by the Striking Application of Acanthus Leaves Bound by Drapery on the Vase Shaped Bulb.” For the following seventy-three years, this table remained in the family of its original owners and was not exhibited or published again. Consequently, this table became famous among American furniture connoisseurs as the “Acme of Perfection” with its whereabouts a mystery until 2008, when it was sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 19, 2008, sale 8400, lot 168.

This tea table is available for auction at Visions of Americas 11 January 2024.

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