An elegant Classical mahogany window bench, likley Duncan Phyfe, New York City, circa 1810
This attractive window bench is the epitome of the Classical forms that became popular in America during the first quarter of the 19th Century. As our young nation sought to define itself, popular culture looked to the ideals of the classics as was fashionable in Europe. This window bench is a graceful interpretation of that ideal, crafted in the manner of the celebrated Duncan Phyfe [1770-1856]. His prolific cabinet shop produced furniture characterized by restrained forms with superior proportions and fashioned from exceptional materials. Phyfe’s particular interpretations are distinguished as the leading New York style and came to define an American mode of furnishing. The bench remains in superior condition and appears to retain original upholstery. The window bench is constructed of first quality mahogany throughout and has a pleasing bright surface. The bench is in the form of a double ended Klismos chair, which features a curved backrest with horizontal splat above tapered, out-curving legs. This form dates to ancient Greek décor and has endured as an icon of Classical design. The raised sides have an ogee horizontal banister with a carved molding, which frames the choice mahogany in a central frieze. A conforming reeded lower rail centers a delicate cross arched splat, carved with a decorative floral boss at the center. The graceful serpentine vertical stiles have reeded tops that flow into and across the bench frame. The quantity and form of this reeding is found on a number of document pieces of seating furniture that are attributed to the Phyfe shop. The bench seat has rolled ends that conform with the profile of the tapered saber legs. The seat is upholstered with 19th Century black oilcloth that is likely original.
Dimensions Length 46 1/2" Depth 16" Height 29" Seat height 18"
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