Maker/Artist: Probably Duncan Phyfe
Room: Second Floor Stair Landing
Description: The mahogany wardrobe has a double-door cupboard in the center flanked by separate cupboards, each slightly recessed and accessed by a single door. The cornice frieze is carved in the center with a bow knot and two tassels supporting swags. A bow knot with lightning bolts is carved in each side panel. Rectangular stylized rosettes mark the sides of each of these three panels and the tops of reeded stiles. Additional rosettes mark the bottoms of the reeded stiles. The wardrobe stands on six turned legs, the front four of which are reeded. All end in brass ball feet. Each of the narrow rectangular doors as two panels, one above the other, each covered with brilliantly figured, book-matched mahogany veneers. Each section opens to three fixed shelves above the bottom board of the wardrobe. The wardrobe top is framed with cross banded edges. The back is made of three tulip poplar fielded panels set into the case sides and two middle stiles.
Place of Origin: New York
Materials: Mahogany, tulip poplar, white pine, brass.
Dimensions (inches): 65 3/4 x 61 x 22 1/2″
Provenance: Purchased from Carol Galbraith, Mt. Vernon, NJ 8/16/76. The original accession worksheet recommends inquiries about whether the wardrobe came from Montclair, N.J., but there is no follow-up.
Condition: Restored by Sack Conservation, 2/25/77. There are no turned stops in the legs for the brass ferules, which may have been added later. The backboards and lower rear rail have been cut into three parts along the line of the vertical compartment dividers. A bracket leg has been added to the center of the back of the wardrobe to provide support. 2/5/2003 condition change noted-separation top proper left front and proper right rear
Notes: Berry Tracy, Federal Furniture and Decorative Arts at Boscobel, p. 93, wrote “The zenith of American wardrobes in the Boscobel collection is the “winged wardrobe” (70) attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe. In the New York Price Book of 1810 it was, with the winged bookcase, the most expensive piece of furniture of its time. In this rare example are seen the finest elements of Phyfe’s work in design and carving. The tablet of the frieze has the carved rosettes, drapery (70A), and thunderbolt motifs seen on Phyfe’s sofas and chairs. On the door panels, a studied arrangement of densely figured mahogany flame veneers soars upward as in a holocaust and gives a note of excitement to the otherwise sober, but perfectly elegant, expression of the master.”
Credit Line: Purchase, 1976