IMPORTANT SHENANDOAH VALLEY OF VIRGINIA CHIPPENDALE WALNUT BUREAU

Lot #: 370 Sold:  November 13, 2010, $49,725.00

rectangular top with complex applied edge moldings, above a three-over-three configuration of lip-molded drawers flanked by fluted quarter columns, the whole raised on an applied base featuring original ogee-bracket feet and pads. Yellow pine and poplar secondary woods. Upper 3/4 dustboard wedged underneath. Upper tier of drawers retaining their original brass bails and one of two original Quaker locks (center drawer produced without a lock), one lower drawer with original cabinet lock. Retains an exceptional dry, historical surface that is probably original. Illegible period signature on proper right upper drawer.

Item/Auction Attributes

Final Catalog Lot Number:
370
Attribution:
Attributed to the circle/shop of Gideon Morgan (1751-1830), Staunton, VA (MESDA craftsman #45750).
Circa:
Circa 1790-1800.
Size:
Overall dimensions: 38 3/4" H, 38 3/4" W, 20 1/2" D. Case dimensions: 36" W, 19 1/2" D.
Condition:
Outstanding condition. The only non-original elements are the three pairs of lower drawer brasses which are replacements. Each lower drawer also has an associated small plugged hole about 1/2" offset from the original outer post holes.
Age related imperfections include a small loss to the upper edge of the lower drawer lip and associated drawer blade, some very minor losses to several corners of the drawer lips and blade edges, an old crack/break to the proper right front foot, small losses and breaks to the applied foot pads, caster hole (1/2" diameter, 1 1/4" deep) in each foot pad/glue block, and minor renailing to one back board.
Provenance:
Provenance: Collection of John & Lil Palmer of Purcellville, VA.
Purchased by Burt Long as agent at the June 12, 1999 on-site auction of Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Williams, just south of Fairfield, in northern Rockbridge Co., VA. The chest had descended in the Williams family.
Low Estimate:
$10000.00
High Estimate:
$15000.00
Catalog Notes:
Catalogue Note: A number of bureaus, clock cases, a double chest, and a Staunton house interior are attributable to the circle of Gideon Morgan. One furniture example is a unique bureau table that resides in the Colonial Williamsburg collection; it is illustrated and discussed in Hurst and Prown - Southern Furniture, pp. 422-424, #130. The bureau is inscribed "Long Meadow," the site of a mid-18th century settlement and homestead in Augusta Co.
A comparative study of the CW bureau and the specimen offered here reveals that the top and base moldings display identical profiles, with the top moldings being very distinctive. In addition, both pieces of furniture have six or seven specific construction features in common including the wedges securing the dust boards, the round-top drawer sides, deep saw kerfs on the inside of the drawer fronts, and the applied pads to the feet.
At least some of the James Huston, Augusta Co. tall-case clock cases are also from this same shop. The example illustrated in "CW/SF", p. 561, figure 169.5, features what appear to be identical quarter column capitols, bases and plinths, as well as foot pads.
As discussed in "Southern Furniture," the shop was most likely responsible for the very elaborate, but somewhat provincial early Federal-style woodwork in the Archibald Stuart house in Staunton, VA (built in 1791), including the overmantel/chimneypiece illustrated in "CW/SF," p. 561. Research by Sumpter Priddy, III has identified Staunton cabinetmakers/carvers/contractors Gideon Morgan (1751-1830) and Joseph Dickey (dates unknown) as being responsible for the Stuart house woodwork.
Another three-over-three-drawer bureau from the same shop is in a Williamsburg, VA collection. It features numerous identical construction and stylistic elements and has also been attributed to the Circle of Gideon Morgan and Joseph Dickey by Sumpter Priddy. Two particularly distinctive in-common attributes are the fully framed drawer supports and the attachment of the bases with large nails set in countersunk holes. See additional photos for details.
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