Duncan Phyfe American, born Scotland

Not on view

Bedsteads, when properly dressed with mattresses, bolsters, linens, and textile draperies, were the central fixture of a home’s bedchamber and often the most expensive ensembles in affluent households. While bedhangings rarely survive with their original frames, the naked structure of this bed is more easily viewed and reveals the exquisite carving and inlay in the emerging neoclassical revival executed by the workshop of Duncan Phyfe. The top of the posts cascade from rope twist and waterleaf carving into sturdy plinths with plaques of figured inlays. Miniature Doric columns with gilt brass capitals and plinths frame bookmatched veneers on the footboards. According to a September 1854 inventory, this bed may be the "Mahogany High Post Bedstead" valued by appraisers at $2 in the "Open Garret" at Duncan Phyfe’s home on 193 Fulton Street in New York.

Bedstead, Duncan Phyfe (American (born Scotland), near Lock Fannich, Ross-Shire, Scotland 1768/1770–1854 New York), Mahogany, mahogany veneer, vert antique, gilded cast brass

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