Category: Conservation & Repair Conservation & Repair






This report identifies through detailed analysis a long-lost masterpiece of American furniture: The four-poster bedstead made for General John Cadwalader and his wife Elizabeth Cadwalader (nee Lloyd) in Philadelphia, circa 1769-70.

The timbers are shown to be mid-American.

The original varnish has been identified as compatible with eighteenth-century urban America.

The structure of the bed is consistent with Philadelphia manufacture, with the detachable carved knee typical of the best Philadelphia rococo beds.

Moreover, the workshop style is that of Benjamin Randolph, with a rare form of hairy paw foot found on much of the Cadwalader furniture.

The details of the bed and an associated tea table strongly relate to designs in the Lloyd family silver owned by John and Elizabeth Cadwalader, brought from London.

Original tool marks and later upholsterer’s pencil marks can be closely compared to other pieces of the Cadwalader suite.

A walnut repair is compatible with a documented early repair to the post of a Cadwalader bedstead.

A trapped early fabric strand has been found. It is red, the same colour as documented for the original drapes of the principal Cadwalader bed.

Infra-red photography has revealed a series of original ink inscriptions underneath the stain and varnish on the reverse of the proper left bed bolt cover ‘II’. The large and distinct inscription identifies as ‘Caps Bedstead’ & ‘John Cadwalader’.



Documentary evidence shows that both Thomas Affleck and Benjamin Randolph supplied beds to the Cadwalader family from 1769.1 John Cadwalader married Elizabeth Lloyd in September 1768. A usual priority for a newlywed couple is the purchase of the marital bed. It is documented that by the following year Cadwalader was purchasing some of his finest furniture from Benjamin Randolph.

It is entirely possible that Randolph supplied the Cadwalader marital bed between 1768-69 and it was part of the furniture included in the £94.15 payment made by Lambert Cadwalader on his brother’s behalf. Unfortunately there is little documentary evidence for Randolph’s furniture. "The record being limited to a bill of September 26th, 1769, for a high post bed, a set of window cornices, iron rods and hooks and a payment of £94.15 made on October 10th 1769: “B. Randolph acct for furniture, £94.15.”2

In fact, the Randolph bill of 1769 reveals that this particular Randolph bed was a painted one for Dr Thomas Cadwalader and not General John Cadwalader as previously assumed by Nicholas Wainwright.3

The 1769 bill to Dr Thomas Cadwalader shows that Randolph was producing beds of the same construction as seen on the principal bed of John and Elizabeth Cadwalader, with ‘iron hooks and rods’ rather than a pulley system, and central to Randolphs’ trade card of 1769-70 is an ornate bed showing a claw foot with turned vase. In further distinguishing between the workshops of Affleck and Randolph we also find tool marks directly comparable to those found on commissions attributed to Randolph for General John Cadwalader.

CB1Randolph trade card, 1769 - 70.


Physical Evidence


Acanthus carving on corner of cornice.

With the exception of eighteenth-century replacement side rails and a replacement headboard, the frame can be confirmed as intact, and not a marriage of different parts.

Holes in the rear of the front corners of the canopy show an unusual fastening method. Once located over the drapes on the subframe, a two-pronged dog is placed in these holes to keep the carvings secured.

The carved and pierced canopy and poplar subframe retain their original hand-forged prongs and brackets. Some of the screws have been replaced.

Iron bracket on canopy tester rail.


There would have originally been six hooks to locate three rods. One hand-forged iron hook remains on the underside of the canopy to hold the missing curtain rods.

Original iron hook on underside of tulip poplar canopy tester rails.


It is clear from their placement that curtains were intended at the foot posts, but did not obscure any of the carvings.


Bed Posts

Corresponding bruising/impressions on the underside of the canopy sub-frame show the head and foot posts to be original. The unity of the head and foot posts is further confirmed by the remains of the original castors. Chuck marks from the lathe are clearly evident on the top of the posts showing the height to be correct.

Both foot posts retain part of their original cast iron castors. The castors of the head posts have been removed but the impression shows them to have been the same, therefore confirming the unity of all four posts.

Remains of original castor on right foot post.


Chuck marks from the lathe are clearly evident on the top of the posts, showing the height to be correct.

Top of foot posts showing chuck and hammer marks.


The unity of the head and foot posts is further confirmed by the remains of the original castors. Both foot posts retain part of their original cast iron castors.

The castors of the head posts have been removed but the impressions show them to have been the same, therefore confirming the unity of all four posts.

Castor impression on head posts with remains of front castor.


Hammer marks are evident on top of both posts from the assembly and gluing of the post sections. The construction of the fire screens in sections, as demonstrated by the X-rays in the Winterthur Cadwalader Study,4is a technique also employed on the bed posts.

Shakes and splits in the mahogany show that the posts are assembled from three sections: The first join is between the square section and the base of the vase, and the second join is between the spiral carving and the base of the long stopped flute.

Details of posts.


The mortice and tenon joints are identified by corresponding Roman numerals made by a ½” chisel, which further shows the unity of the original components.

The acanthus carved detachable knees (bolt covers) are similarly marked II & III on their reverse. Detachable knees are reserved for the very best beds and detailed in The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book as "knees to move”.

Chisel markings on bed rails.


There is a further mark made with a carving gouge in the form of a ‘C’ on one of the posts and the front cross-rail. The two side rails are eighteenth century replacements.

The original headboard is missing; the construction suggests this was a simple board hidden by the drapes; this would have been stuffed and covered with fabric as detailed by Plunket Fleeson.5

Timber Identification


Post and Bolt Covers Mahogany
Pierced Canopy Red Cedar
Canopy Subframe Tulip Poplar
Back Posts and Rails Birch

The combination of secondary and tertiary timbers is not found on English eighteenth century beds but is typical of construction materials from Philadelphia in the 1770's.

As documented in The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book, the bed cornices are of red cedar, cut open for carving or covering, with the pulleys to the rails priced at £1 10s 0d.

These could also be supplied with pieces to the corners and a scalloped upper edge. The Price Book tells us that imported red cedar rather than mahogany was used for the construction of carved and pierced canopies.

An aromatic wood that cost the same as mahogany, red cedar was also used for coffins and storage chests.

CB11 Description of scalloped cedar “cut open” cornices in the 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book.


The choice of cedar as a timber for the cornices could be twofold. It has been suggested that it was a remedy to a stuffy bedroom, providing an aromatic scent. The properties of cedar wood as an insect repellent make it particularly appropriate for keeping moths away from the bed drapes. The light weight of the cedar compared mahogany of the period could also have been a factor, as the cornice set would be easier to support.

Varnish & Finish Analysis

In July 2014 Susan Buck carried out a microscopy finish analysis on six different areas of the bed from the canopy, frame, removable knee and hairy paw foot.7

Samples from the posts and canopy suggest a dark pigmented stain was used before the first shellac finish. A similar dark pigmented stain was noted on two of the fire screens in the Cadwalader Study. Sample 6 from the claw of the hairy paw shows the first shellac layer to be irregularly cracked. This is not the regular cracking described as “bricking”. However this original shellac coating does have a paler orange auto-flourescence at its surface that is a characteristic of oxidised shellac that does have the bricking pattern.

A number of the other Cadwalader pieces have an original shellac finish, some of which had the "bricking" pattern and others not. So, it seems there is enough variation in the early finish treatments for these pieces that early finish history of the bed fits into this larger group:


CB12Analysis of side of claw, right hairy paw foot at 400x magnification.

During the finish microscopy analysis, Susan Buck discovered a ‘loose red fibre’. This fibre was found on sample 4 within an early secondary degraded shellac layer on the carved canopy.

CB13Layered analysis of sample 4, ‘Expanded image under Ultraviolet Light’, microscopy report.9


The discovery of red fabric is consistent with the principal Cadwalader bed described bythe upholsterer Plunket Fleeson as a “plestoon bed, full trimmed, with plumes, laces, & headboard, fringed.” The fabric used for the bed hangings and window curtains was a "fine red & white copper plate cotton", 56 yrds of it coming to a sum of £48 16s 6d. There were also 16yrds of linen, 118 yrds of fringe, 57 tassels, 20 yrds of silk lace and 32 yrds of white twilled lace. Plumes were mounted on top of the carved cornice. The headboard was stuffed and covered with fabric.10



The expensive hangings would be taken down and put into storage during the high summer and replaced with lighter hangings, as shown on the bill from Fleeson in October 1771.

The rail and hook arrangement seen on the bed would allow for an easy changing of the drapes. Also, the construction of the canopy subframe allows for a loose timber rod which enables the ceiling and pelmets to be changed with similar ease. Six mahogany chairs in the principal bedroom were trimmed in red and white fringes to match the bed.

As shown in the Cadwalader Study, six of the saddle seat chairs have 1/4” holes drilled in the seat rails at the junction with the legs. This would allow fabric covers that could be interchanged along with the alternation of the bed drapes. It is interesting to note that the seventh chair does not have these holes, suggesting that it was not one of those for use in the bedroom.

CB14Plunket Fleeson bill showing upholstery of headboard, October 1770. 


CB14aDetail of Plunket Fleeson bill showing making of drapes with “red & white copper plate cotton”, December 1770.

Ink Inscriptions


Infra-red photography has reviled a series of original ink inscriptions underneath the stain and varnish on the reverse of the proper left bed bolt cover ‘II’. The large and distinct inscription identifies as ‘Caps Bedstead’ and ‘John Cadwalader’.

CB15zoomReverse of proper left bolt cover, inscriptions highlighted on image.

‘Caps’ & ‘Bedstead’ are the exact terms used by Affleck in his 1771 bill to John Cadwalader.

Documented Repair

A walnut repair to the right hairy paw foot of the bedstead is consistent with a repair carried out by William Savery documented August 3rd 1772,“To mending the post of a bedstead” to which he charged 1 shilling. This is comparable with the charge for a complete claw foot of 2 shillings, documented in The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book.


CB16August 3, 1772 William Savery bill.


One post which still retains a section of sapwood has suffered damage from a castor coming loose, a section of the carving has broken away necessitating a repair. It is difficult to envisage a repair of this magnitude being anything other than to the most vulnerable area of the bed, the foot, especially for such a new and highly prized bed. If the Savery repair was to similar damage on a Marlborough leg the charge would have been minimal.

CB17Walnut repair to right foot post of the bedstead.


This is a very old repair, the timber being glued then held with five screws, three of which are neatly covered with timber plugs. The patch has then been carved to match the existing hairs of the hairy paw. The repair is done in walnut, not mahogany.

As stated by Nicholas Wainwright, Cadwalader purchased furniture from William Savery costing £61.19s. “It was mostly of walnut and largely for the bedrooms”.11 This would correspond to his repair carried out in 1772; “To mending the post of a bedstead”.

The charge of 1 shilling would seem wholly appropriate for this level of work in 1772

Pencil Handwriting

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

Left: Pencil “R” on right bolt cover.
Right: Hanlon pencil writing on Fanshawe chairs.

This may well indicate that the bed was draped at the same time that the Fanshawe chairs were reupholstered in Philadelphia.

Tool Marks

Close examination of the bedstead has revealed a series of tool marks. These marks are of paramount importance in:

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.

Clamp Marks

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.

Left: Clamp marks behind movable knee on right foot post
Right: Illustration of clamp marks behind movable knee on right foot post.

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.

Clamp marks on back right of knee.

Three clamp marks are found on each section of the cornice.

Clamp mark no.1 (above) and no.6 (below) of 9 on cornice of bed.

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.

Highlighting clamp mark numbers 1 - 9, clamp mark no.1 /9 located top of image, no.6 /9 located lower left of image.

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.

Plane Marks

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.

Plane marks on the rear of front section of carved cornice.

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.”

Rear of PMA Cadwalader card table. Dark raised ridge from nick in plane blade evident at top of image.
Underside of PMA Cadwalader serpentine card table. Small ridge from nick in plane blade seen on underside of top

Punch Marks

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.

CB26Detail of the punch decoration on bed post collar.


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.

CB27 CB28
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.

The Cadwalder Tea Table

img src="/images/site-images/articles/cadwalader_bed/CB29.jpg" alt="CB29" width="650" height="327" style="width: 650px; height: 327px;" />

The recently discovered Cadwalader tea table, supplied by Thomas Affleck and carved by Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez, was designed and executed in 1770 to harmonise with the bed.

Most notable in its design is the omission of the usual birdcage to allow a longer stem that accommodates a stopped flute, respecting the design of the bed posts.

Bed post stopped flute compared to tea table stopped flute.

The tongue and leaf carved collar on the underside of the spiral turning on the bed posts is repeated on the piecrust edge of the tea table. The same punch mark decoration and acanthus leaf carving is also seen on both items.

Tea table piecrust edge and bed post collar.
Cadwalader tea table and bedstead.

Cadwalader Silver Waiter

As part of the ensemble a silver waiter was commissioned from John Carter II, 1769 - 70. This 9” diameter, scallop-edged waiter has an aesthetic synergy to the design of both the table and bed.

;">Cadwalader silver waiter, John Carter II, 1769 - 70.
Tea table piecrust compared with Cadwalader silver waiter

At this time Cadwalader imported silver costing £101 1s 4d through his London agent Mathias Gale.15

Further Furniture & Architecture Comparisons


The mixture of a classical gadrooned and pierced cornice with the superbly carved rococo bolt covers and naturalistic hairy paw feet places this bed firmly in the Philadelphia tradition of the 1770’s. Every part of the bed matches the description of the best bed available from The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book.


The high rococo Chippendale, serpentine-front wing armchair is now recognised and celebrated as the General John Cadwalader armchair and seen as a masterpiece of Philadelphia carving.

This was not always the case. The chair had previously been dismissed by curators at both the Winterthur and Philadelphia Museums, classifying it as nineteenth- century and late English, respectively.

The bulbous rear feet are not a form usually associated with Philadelphia work, and were probably intended to house robust castors.

The hairy paw feet have separated toes similar to the card table in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but unlike all the other hairy paw feet.

Cadwalader Easy Chair, 1770, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The fetlock carving is particularly interesting. It is described in the Cadwalader Study as; “a pronounced clump of hair, which tapers to a point (whose form resembles a claw).”17

The fetlock hair on the bedstead feet is carved in the same manner as that described on the Cadwalader easy chair.

The furnishing and decoration of the Cadwalader home was such a huge and prestigious commission that it necessitaed a hitherto unknown level of cooperation between cabinet shops and carvers that would normally have been in direct competition.

It is precisely this level of cooperation that makes the firm attribution of carving very difficult. This is further compounded when more than one carver can be seen to have worked on the same piece of furniture.

Rear of bed hairy paw foot.

Carving of the acanthus knees and canopy have direct and compelling comparisons with known carvings by Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez from the late 1760’s.

High chest, unidentified cabinetmaker with carving attributed to Martin Jugiez, 1765-1775, compared to detachable knee of bed. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Canopy carving compared to carved detail of the ear on a side chair attributed to Nicholas Bernard, 1755-60 (Philadelphia Museum of Art)


Comparison of detachable knee to architectural keystone carving in St Peter’s Church, 1763.
Comparison of bed bolt cover to keystone carving in St Peter’s Church, 1763.


Comparison of carved collar on bed post to keystone carving in St Peter’s Church, 1763

Similar carving to the St Peters keystone and bed knees the acanthus carving by Bernard & Jugiez can be seen in the door consoles at Cliveden and in the drawing room at Mount Pleasant.

Chimney piece console, Mount Pleasant - 1764.
Flower heads on detachable bed knees.

As Luke Beckerdite has detailed in his Philadelphia Carving Shops Part II - Bernard & Jugiez, “The flower in the lower left corner has a cylindrical centre with a gouged out impression in the top of it and veining like that on the flower on the chimney piece consoles at Cliveden”18 This same treatment is seen on all of the flower heads carved on the bed.

In 1769 Bernard & Jugiez adorned the house of Samuel Powel with the same carvings.

This acanthus carving can also be seen used on the turned vase of tea tables and fire screens attributed to Nicholas Bernard & Martin Jugiez.

Stevenson tea table, 1770
Cadwalader tea table, 1770


Cadwalader fire screen, Chipstone Foundation (left) & Cadwalader tea table right).

Another striking comparison is the shaping of the cornice which follows known patterns of Philadelphia bed and window cornices circa 1770.


Many pieces of Cadwalader furniture are yet to be discovered. These may well throw more light on the relationship between the various pieces and the workshops and carvers involved. The hairy paw foot is a very rare form for the period but can be seen used by a number of carvers employed by Thomas Affleck (1740 -1795) and Benjamin Randolph (1721 - 1791) on the furniture produced for Cadwalader between 1769 -71.

The hairy paw foot is a very rare form for the period but can be seen used by a number of carvers employed by Thomas Affleck (1740 -1795) and Benjamin Randolph (1721 - 1791) on the furniture produced for Cadwalader between 1769 -71.

A common feature on much Cadwalader furniture is the distinctive hairy paw foot clutching a flattened ball seen on chairs, tables and fire screens. Philadelphia furniture looked toward London as the height of fashion. However, by 1770 the hairy paw foot was not a fashionable form (its use predominantly found in Ireland). It may well be that John and Elizabeth Cadwalader adopted the use of a hairy lion paw from the particularly hirsute lion seen on the Lloyd family crest. Interestingly the use of a wolf, also a hairy quadruped, on the Cadwalader family crest means the use of a carved hairy paw could be considered appropriate for both families.

Hairy paw foot of bed

What we now term a "hairy paw" foot was referred to in the eighteenth century merely as a claw foot. The price of carving such a foot was explained in The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book-- claws for tables, chairs, tea tables, and chests were billed at only 1s 6d each, these being carved not by the master but by a journeyman. As a bedstead had larger legs and feet the charge rose to 2s.19.

The division of labour within the same piece of furniture is a noted Philadelphia practice where different carvers can be seen to have worked on the left and right side of the same chair.

Work that is not as close to the eye (such as the bed canopy) would be executed by a journeyman not as skilled as his master.As the complete furnishing of the Cadwalader mansion was such a huge commission this division of labour made economic sense.


Luke Beckerdite suggested that "there is a continuous thread of shop practices that make it possible to attribute work to a specific carving shop and even isolate individual hands in that shop.”

Talking of the easy chair he said, “It is my belief that the chair was carved in (James) Reynolds' shop, just as I believe the two serpentine card tables were carved in Reynolds' shop and the fire screens in Bernard and Jugiez's. But at least two carvers worked in each shop. That's how we account for the differences in the two card tables - they were probably carved by two different carvers working in Reynolds' shop."20 He believes one side of the chair was carved by one man, the other side by another.

Removable leaf-carved knees.

This same workshop trait can be seen on the carving of the bed, a different carver working on the left and right bolt covers.

The carving on the bed corresponds closely with that seen on several of the pieces known to have been part of the Cadwalader suite. The distinctive foot with its inward facing two digits and swirling hair on the second knuckle can be seen on both the bed and the highly ornate rococo chairs in the Winterthur and Metropolitan Museums.

Comparison of saddle-seat side chair foot (left) with foot of bed (right).

Cadwalader / Lloyd Silverware

As stated by Alexandra Kirtley in Survival of the Fittest: The Lloyd Family’s Furniture Legacy, American Furniture 2002; “Silver served as one of the most potent symbols of the Lloyds’ wealth, social status and taste”. Much of the decoration on the silver alludes to the Lloyds’ wealth deriving from wheat farming and fertile ground.21 This use of wheat husks to denote fertility and wealth is prominent throughout the carved bed canopy.

Much of the inspiration for the Cadwalader furniture, its form and decoration, is derived from the Lloyd family furniture and silver. Cadwalader’s father in law, Edward Lloyd III was a strong loyalist who patronised the best London craftsmen.

The London silversmiths Thomas Whipham and Charles Wright supplied Lloyd with a large silver tea and coffee service in 1763. The highly ornate rococo decoration of this prestigious service may well have inspired much of the Cadwalader furniture.

The service was given to Elizabeth Lloyd as part of her dowry upon her marriage to John Cadwalader in 1768. Upon the death of Edward Lloyd III, on 27th January 1770, the Cadwaladers inherited some of his finest furniture including a high post mahogany bedstead and a settee bed22. Presumably these were some of the finest pieces as they resided in the Colonel’s bedroom. This furniture may also have been inspira-tional in the Philadelphia designs.

Finial for the Lloyd teapot (left); finial for a Cadwalader pole screen (right).

This inspiration is also evident when one compares the decoration and form of the Lloyd family coffee pot to the turning and carving on the Cadwalader bed posts.

Coffee pot, 1763, Thomas Whipham & Charles Wright next to bed post.

Further comparisons can be made with the decoration on the carved canopy and that on the hot water urn from the same service.

Hot water urn, 1763, Thomas Whipham & Charles Wright (left) and bed cornice with acanthus leaf corners (right).


Detail of hot water urn (left) and bed cornice (right).

Both have similar asymmetric curves and share the same motif of wheat husk pendants. The claw feet of the urn are similar to those on the bed in terms of their compression.

Only four pieces survive from the Lloyd family silver service. John Cadwalader and Richard Bennett Lloyd are known to have shared a set of four large candelabra, each capable of holding twelve candles and valued at £118 each.24 Had these survived closer parallels with the bed may have been seen.

The punched ground decoration seen on the bed carving may well have been inspired by the Lloyd family silver service. A similar ground can be seen on the Lloyd / Cadwalader coffee pot.

Detail of the rococo decoration on the silver coffee pot. Thomas Whipham & Charles Wright 1763.

The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book

The lack of period rococo Philadelphia beds as comparators is regrettable, but The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book helps us understand their form and gives a fascinating insight to their costing.

A bedstead with poplar stained frame, mahogany fluted foot posts, claw feet, moveable leaf carved knees and a member carved on the capital and base was priced at £10.


Very few Philadelphia beds survive with leaf carved removable knees and it may well have been reserved for the very best commissions.

Chippendale mahogany four-post bed, Philadelphia, circa 1750-80. Albert Sack, Fine Points of Furniture.

“An outstanding example of a very rare type. The carved kneecaps are removable and the proportions of the foot posts are excellent.” Albert Sack. 25

The carved and pierced cedar cornice of the bed is consistent with that described in The Price Book “bed cornice of cedar, cut open for carving or covering…scalloped on the upper edge…with pieces to the corners”.

The journeymen’s wages for cutting claws itemises a bedstead at 2s 6d each.

The Cadwalader mansion contained many beds; the best ones were as Nicholas Wainwright suggests, “apt to be of mahogany with high posts surmounted by canopies and carved cornices.”26

Unfortunately their are few surviving bills for the Cadwalader furnishings.

Thomas Affleck supplied an expensive bed, described on his bill of October 13th 1770: “Bedstead wt Casters Brass Caps etc Compleat”.

Thomas Affleck Bill, October 13th 1770.

The Affleck bed has “Brass Caps” as covers for the bed bolts not the elaborate, leaf carved, removable knees we see on the present bed. Supplied in October 1770, the Affleck bed is likely to have been that in the second best bed chamber with the chintz hangings set off by a dozen tassels.

The two windows with matching carved cornices would also have been draped in chintz. This would tally with the upholsterer, Plunket Fleeson, describing the Chintz Bed as the “‘new’ Chintz Bed” in December 1770: Decem 25th ... “To fixing and putting up the new Chintz Bed, Cloak pins, tacks 0”12“6”.27

Plunket Fleeson bill, December 1770.
Detail of Plunket Fleeson bill showing making of drapes with “red & white copper plate cotton”, December 1770.
Randolph Bill, 26 September 1769, Historical Society Pennsylvania.

History of the Bed

Furniture from the Cadwalader mansion, often mistaken as English or Irish, which we can now demonstrate is due to the aesthetic synergy with the family’s prized collection of London silver, has been discovered in America, England, Ireland and Italy. The majority of the furniture passed by descent through the Cadwalader family to Dr. Charles Cadwalader (1836-1907), great -grandson of John Cadwalader.

In the July 16th edition of 1897 The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin made mention of the furnishings of Dr. Cadwalader's house, the bedrooms reportedly furnished in “old mahogany”28.

In that year, Charles, to the dismay of polite Philadelphia society, married his twenty one year old Irish house maid Bridget Mary Ryan, daughter of a police constable from Tipperary. Life in Philadelphia became uncomfortable so in 1904, Charles, his young wife and their newly born son packed up their home and moved to London.

Much of the house contents were sent to auction with the firm of Davis and Harvey.The catalogue of the sale of the goods in Philadelphia in November 1904 states that they were "To be sold by order of Dr. Chas. E. Cadwalader, prior to his residence in Europe."29

It is known that some of their belongings, including furniture and silver, were taken to England with them.30 Unfortunately both Charles and his young son died in London in 1907.

Dr Charles Cadwalader.

New research by Ellen Leslie has given fresh insights into the movements of Charles and Bridget Cadwalader when they arrived in England.31 It is now known that they resided at 97 Prince of Wales Mansions, on the South side of Battersea Park, London.

The bed emerged at an auction in the South of England in 2013. The following year the Cadwalader tea table surfaced at the same auction.

A set of Cadwalader chairs emerged at auction in 1974 initially thought to be English. They were, however, recognised by an American collector and matched to a chair in the Winterthur Museum. Their history was traced back through their owner Major Fanshawe, who had inherited the chairs from his friend Nancy Connell, who in turn had purchased them in auction in 1934 from Pallas, County Galway, the estate of the Earl of Westmeath.

An inscription made by a Philadelphia upholsterer active in the city until 1905 proves they were still in the States in the early years of the century. It is assumed that these superbly carved rococo chairs with hairy paw feet were part of the furnishings that travelled across the Atlantic with Dr. Charles and his young wife; part of the "old mahogany" in the bedrooms mentioned by the Evening Bulletin.

In 1907 Bridget Mary inherited the remainder of the Cadwalader possessions from her deceased husband. The chairs do not appear in an early Pallas inventory of 1913 so it can be assumed they were acquired sometime after that date. Their purchaser, The Earl of Westmeath, was a frequent visitor to London, where he sat in the House of Lords.

Charles Cadwalader chose to bring his great-grandfather’s best chairs to start his new life in London. These chairs had sat in the bedroom of his Philadelphia home. He had them reupholstered in Philadelphia before the journey. It is likely that the best Cadwalader four poster, probably recently draped, came with them also. In 1907 a young widow needing to downsize could well have sold the bed along with the chairs and other furniture.

In early 1911 the widowed Bridget Mary Cadwalader moved from Prince of Wales Mansions to 23 Connaught Mansions, where she lived with her spinster sister. The Philadelphia bed with the same distinctive hairy paw feet as the five chairs appears in Herbert Cescinsky's English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century Vol II published in London, 1909-1911.

Illustration taken from Herbert Cescinsky, English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, London, 1910. Vol. II, p. 348, fig. 378.


Cescinsky can be forgiven for thinking the bed was English, he was not privy to the extensive research that has thrown much light on the construction, materials and style of colonial furniture.

All of the available evidence now demonstrates this to be the principal Cadwalader bed, most likely from the workshop of Benjamin Randolph. The bold design and superb carving, likely that of Bernard and Jugiez, remains a testament to the luxurious furnishings of the Cadwalader mansion.


For assistance with this research the authors wish to thank Alexander Kirtley, Mark Anderson, Bret Headley, Susan Scott and Michael Holden.

For their kind help in supplying photographs from St. Peters Church we would also like to thank Kate Randall and Laurie Cielo.

We are grateful to Dr Jonathan Foyle for drawing our attention to the Cadwalader silver waiter.


01. Wainwright, NB. (1964) Colonial Grandeur in Philadelphia; The House and Furniture of General John Cadwalader. Philadelphia: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. P38 & P44.

02. Ibid. P38.

03. Ibid. P38.

04. Anderson, MJ. Landrey, GJ. & Zummerman, PD. (1995) Cadwalader Study, Delaware: Henry Francis duPont, Winterthur Museum.

05. Wainwright, NB. (1964) Colonial Grandeur in Philadelphia; The House and Furniture of General John Cadwalader. Philadelphia: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. P43. (Reproduction of Plunket Fleeson bill, October 1771).

06. Alden, H. (2014) Timber Identification Report, Alden Identification Services.

07. Buck, S. (2014) Chippendale-Style Bed Finish Analysis.

08. Ibid.

09. Ibid.

10. Wainwright, NB. (1964) Colonial Grandeur in Philadelphia; The House and Furniture of General John Cadwalader. P43.

11. Ibid. P39.

12. Loughlin, D. (1978) The Case of Major Fanshawe’s Chairs, New York: Universe Books. P70.

13. Anderson et al (1995) Cadwalader Study.

14. Ibid.

15. Mathias Gale, Cadwalader Collection. Philadelphia: The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

16. Loughlin, D. (1978) The Case of Major Fanshawe’s Chairs. P11.

17. Anderson et al (1995) Cadwalader Study.

18. Beckerdite, L. (Sept 1985) Philadelphia Carving Shops, Part II: Bernard & Jugiez, The Magazine Antiques.

19. Kirkley, A. (2005) The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book: An Introduction and Guide. P55.

20. Beckerdite, L. (May 1984) Philadelphia Carving Shops, Part I: James Reynolds, The Magazine Antiques.

22. Kirtley, A. (2002) Survival of The Fittest: The Lloyd Family, Furniture Legacy, American Furniture. P6.

23. Lindsey, JL and Sewell, D. (1996) The Cadwalader Family: Art and Style in Early Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin.

24. Kirtley, A. (2002) Survival of The Fittest: The Lloyd Family, Furniture Legacy, American Furniture. P9.

25. Sack, A. (1950) Fine Points of Furniture: Early America. New York, Crown Publishers Inc. P89.

26. Wainwright, NB. (1964) Colonial Grandeur in Philadelphia; The House and Furniture of General John Cadwalader. P42.

27. Ibid. P40.

28. Loughlin, D. (1978) The Case of Major Fanshawe’s Chairs. P96.

29. Davis & Harvey (1904), Catalogue of Antique Furniture from the Cadwalader Mansion. Philadelphia.

30. Loughlin, D. (1978) The Case of Major Fanshawe’s Chairs. P11. - ‘In the 1930’s Bridget Mary Cadwalader sends a case of family silver back to Philadelphia.’

31. Leslie, E. (2014), Research Findings and Conclusions Regarding The Provenance of The Cadwalader Bed.