Secrétaire à abattant

Attributed to the Workshop of Duncan Phyfe American, born Scotland
or attributed to D. Phyfe & Son American
or attributed to Duncan Phyfe & Sons American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 738

The rippling figure of mahogany veneers sheaths the Classically inspired columnar supports and architectonic mass of this secrétaire à abattant, or "French secretary" according to the 1834 New York cabinetmakers’ price book. In the 1830s and 40s, the Phyfe workshop embraced the revival of Grecian designs and use of flashy veneering techniques popularized by their French counterparts. The Phyfe workshop produced very few secrétaires but may have based this form on number 368 of volume one (1813-1815) in Pierre de La Mésangère’s Collection de Meubles et Objets de Goût (1820–1831). The secrétaire employs sophisticated hardware such as spring-locked drawers for the safekeeping of valuables and a drop-fron with a weighted iron balance hinge.

Secrétaire à abattant, Attributed to the Workshop of Duncan Phyfe (American (born Scotland), near Lock Fannich, Ross-Shire, Scotland 1768/1770–1854 New York), Mahogany, mahogany veneer, yellow poplar,  white pine, gilded brass, mirrored plate glass, marble, ivory, American

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