The acanthus carved detachable knees retain writing in pencil denoting left and right. Similar writing in pencil by the Philadelphia upholsterer, Charles Hanlon, was discovered on the shoe of the rear seat rails of the Cadwalader chairs from the bedroom of Dr.Charles Cadwalader, upholstered in Philadelphia in the early 20th century by Hanlon before being brought to London in 1904.12
This may well indicate that the bed was draped at the same time that the Fanshawe chairs were reupholstered in Philadelphia.
Close examination of the bedstead has revealed a series of tool marks. These marks are of paramount importance in:
- Confirming the unity of the bed elements.
- Illuminating workshop practice and technique.
- Identifying furniture from the same workshop.
As already demonstrated the castors and castor impressions unify all four posts. There is no evidence of castors having been replaced. (In order to raise and protect the feet a set of English brass and leather castors, circa 1750, have now been fitted.) Both foot posts display the same chuck marks showing that they have been turned on the same lathe and have never been reduced in height.
A series of very distinct clamp marks can be seen on the back of both the leaf carved knees, on both foot posts behind the knees (where it was not necessary to have the timber dressed), and on the reverse of all three parts of the carved cornice, where nine clamp marks can be found. This shows that all carved components of the bed were made in the same workshop and held for carving with the same clamp.
One clamp head leaves a distinct surface impression as well as an outline as it has a tooled surface of crosshatching to ensure a good grip while carving. This clamp head is 1 ¾” in length and leaves a diamond pattern impressed in the wood.
Three clamp marks are found on each section of the cornice.
The presence of the clamp marks show how and where the timber was held for carving. Repetitive overlapping marks on two faces of the foot posts suggests they were clamped many times during the carving of the feet.
It is unusual to find clamp marks on period furniture however clamp marks are also found on the inside of the rear seat rails on the saddle seat side chairs as documented in the Cadwalader Study.13 There are no clamp marks evident on the straight railed chairs as they were not needed to be secured for carving of the rails.
The red cedar canopy has distinctive plane marks running the full length. A nick in the plane bladehas resulted in a small ridge of raised timber. This is seen repeated at regular intervals for each subsequent stroke of the plane.
It is unusual to see such marks remaining on the underside or back of period furniture. It is either an accepted practice of the workshop or is due specifically to haste in the commission where no time is wasted on the dressing and cleaning of areas that would not be seen. The clamp and plane marks can both be seen as part of this workshop practice.
As detailed in the Cadwalader Study the serpentine fronted card table in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) has similar markings.14
What is evident on the underside of the table in the PMA is similar plane marks with a ridge left on the surface of the timber from a nick in the plane blade.
In comparing the two tables, the Cadwalader Study concluded: “surface planing work on the underside of the DAF table is regular and unobtrusive. Plane work on the interior surfaces of the PMA table is quite noticeable and includes a small ridge left by a nick in a plane blade. In general, the tooling marks on the inner surfaces of the PMA table are rough, whereas the inner surfaces of the DAF table are more refined.”
A small rectangular punch has been used to create the decorative ground on the leaf carved knees. It can also be seen on the underside of the carving below the turned spiral.
Excessive wear from years of polishing has left the decoration on the knees less distinct than that on the underside of the spiral.
A similar punched ground is used as a decoration on the Cadwalader fire screens and recently discovered tea table.
Details of punch decoration on vase of the recently-
discovered Cadwalader tea table.
Detail of punch decoration top of leg of Cadwalader
fire screen. PMA.