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Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825–1861

September 19, 2000–January 7, 2001

Decorative Arts, 1830–1845

The fourth gallery features interior furnishings that would have been found in Grecian-style houses and decorative arts in various media dating from around 1830 to 1845. The Brooklyn Museum of Art has lent a pair of pilasters and a mahogany door with a pedimented frame from Clarkson Lawn, a grand Greek Revival house built in Brooklyn in the mid-1830s. Joseph Meeks and Sons, one of the most prolific New York cabinetmaking firms of the period, is represented by a bold mahogany-veneered pier table (ca. 1835; private collection) with curvilinear supports, and also by a hand-colored broadside, a rare lithograph of enormous importance to the history of American furniture, which shows the firm's product line in 1833. A rosewood armchair, couch, and six nested tables (all from private collections) are part of a large order of furniture supplied by Duncan Phyfe and Son in 1840–41 for use at Millford plantation in South Carolina. Such works exemplify the appreciation in other parts of the country for New York style and allude to New York's ability to supply fine goods to broader domestic markets, especially in the South.