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Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York

Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York

Kenny, Peter M., Michael K. Brown, Frances F. Bretter, and Matthew A. Thurlow
352 pages
350 illustrations
Henry Allen Moe Prize for Catalogs of Distinction in the Arts (2012)
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Duncan Phyfe (1770–1854), known during his lifetime as the "United States Rage," to this day remains America's best-known cabinetmaker. Establishing his reputation as a purveyor of luxury by designing high-quality furniture for New York's moneyed elite, Phyfe would come to count among his clients some of the nation's wealthiest and most storied families.

This richly illustrated volume covers the full chronological sweep of the craftsman's distinguished career, from his earliest furniture—which bears the influence of his eighteenth-century British predecessors Thomas Sheraton and Thomas Hope—to his late simplified designs in the Grecian Plain. More than sixty works by Phyfe and his workshop are highlighted, including rarely seen pieces from private collections and several newly discovered documented works. Additionally, essays by leading scholars bring to light new information on Phyfe's life, his workshop production, and his roster of illustrious patrons. What unfolds is the story of Phyfe's remarkable transformation from a young immigrant craftsman to an accomplished master cabinetmaker and an American icon.

Sofa, Ernest F. Hagen  American, Mahogany, cane, American
ca. 1898
Shop and Warehouse of Duncan Phyfe, 168–172 Fulton Street, New York City, John Rubens Smith  American, Watercolor, ink, and gouache on white laid paper, American
Architectural drawing of Duncan Phyfe’s house, 193 Fulton Street, New York City, Watercolor, goauche, gum arabic, and graphite on off-white wove paper, American
Side Chair, Mahogany, American
The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Engraved From the Compositions of John Flaxman, Sculptor, Rome, John Flaxman  British, Illustrations: line engraving
Multiple artists/makers
London Chair-Makers' and Carvers' Book of Prices, for Workmanship..., T. Sorrell  British, Illustrations: engraving
The New York Book of Prices for Manufacturing Cabinet and Chair Work, New-York Society of Cabinet Makers  American, Illustrations: engravings
Armchair, Charles-Honoré Lannuier  American, Mahogany, American
ca. 1810
Armchair, Duncan Phyfe  American, born Scotland, Mahogany, ash, white pine, tulip poplar, American
ca. 1800
Cabinetmakers' London Book of Prices and Designs for Cabinet Work...The Second Edition, W. Brown and A. O'Neil  British, Illustrations: etching and engraving
Cylinder Desk and Bookcase, Duncan Phyfe  American, born Scotland, Mahogany, mahogany veneer, satinwood, gilded<br/>gesso with yellow poplar, white pine, American
Drop-leaf Table, Michael Allison  American, Mahogany, white pine, ash, American
A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, in the most approved and elegant taste, George Smith  British, Illustrations: etching and aquatint, hand-colored
Multiple artists/makers
Collection de Meubles et Objets de Goût, vol. 2, Pierre de La Mésangère  French, Hand-colored engraving
Card table, Charles-Honoré Lannuier  American, Mahogany veneer, white pine, yellow poplar, gilded gesso, vert antique, and gilded brass, American
Center Table, Mahogany, ebonized mahogany, gilded wood, marble (white pine apron), American
The Family of John Q. Aymar, George W. Twibill Jr.  American, Oil on canvas, American
ca. 1833
Broadside, Joseph Meeks & Sons  American, Hand-colored lithograph
Pier Table, Joseph Meeks & Sons  American, Mahogany veneer, mahogany; pine, ash (secondary woods); marble, glass, American
Collection de Meubles et Objets de Goût, vol. 3, Pierre de La Mésangère  French, Engraving, hand-colored
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Kenny, Peter M., Duncan Phyfe, Michael K. Brown, Frances F. Bretter, and Matthew T. Thurlow. 2011. Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York. New York : New Haven [Conn.]: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Distributed by Yale University Press.