CELEBRATING THE NEW NATION.....SOLD

IMPORTANT CANDLE STAND INLAID WITH THE GREAT SEAL OF AMERICA

Eastern United States
ca. 1782-1800

Good chance New York City (or Boston/Worcester, Baltimore, Charleston). The bald eagle as core to the Great Seal was approved by Congress in 1782. The powerful form of this stand with its bold turnings suggests it being made soon thereafter as later Federal (Hepplewhite) designs were structurally lighter. The eagle, particularly after Washington’s inauguration in 1789, became much in demand on everything from textiles to art as young America flourished and celebrated.

Dense mahogany, in early and probably original surface. The scarce twelve facet tilt-top has double-line inlay about the perimeter, centered by the great seal within an oval. Note the 13 stars at the top, for the original colonies, and 5 stars below, I believe representing the five who drafted the Declaration of Independence. The eagle grasps arrows (birth in warfare) and an olive branch (hope for a prosperous, peaceful nation). The inlay is given ‘depth’ by burning with hot sand.

The design and cabinet work are of the finest quality by a skilled cabinetmaker (possibly Michael Allison NYC, although likely a few years before him, or Nathan Lumbard outside of Boston). The legs with center spine terminate in narrowed ankles and padded feet. The column, the bottom with scalloped carving, has a central urn and turned knops, is square-wedged into a chamfered block. The brass latch appears original. The broad stance, the turnings of the column, and the curve of the legs are top shelf.

Period American furniture with the inlaid Great Seal of this caliber are rare. The Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, in Washington, D.C. has three: Hepplewhite card table, butler’s desk, and linen press. A full page image of the eagle inlay on the card table is p. 172, The American Eagle, Isaacson. Also see another eagle-inlaid candlestand, of much weaker form, pictured page 386, plate 374, in the Winterthur Book, American Furniture, The Federal Period, Charles Montgomery.

In superb condition with expected minor in-use imperfections. When the tilt is up, the overall height is about 39 inches; when down about 28. Provenance: Private New York State collection. This is a treasure, a historical document that was made for, and witnessed, the celebration of early America. 

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