The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

SAPFM Chapter News and Discussions => Blue Ridge Chapter => Topic started by: Jeff L Headley on December 13, 2011, 08:52:20 PM

Title: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Jeff L Headley on December 13, 2011, 08:52:20 PM
What might be your favaorite Virginia piece of furniture?
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: macchips4 on December 14, 2011, 11:40:48 AM
any large Walnut table .........covered with.........fried chicken!
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: jdavis on December 14, 2011, 11:28:32 PM
My favorite piece is the Robert Walker tea table at Stratford Hall, followed by the same version at MESDA. With or without the chicken.
John
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: David Turner on December 15, 2011, 04:38:09 PM
My favorite pieces are the entire house full of high poster beds, low poster beds, chest on  chests, lowboys, highboys, desks, etc. I built while living 18 years in Fredericksburg, Virginia under the guidance of my mentor, Mr. Charles Harding.

David Turner
Plymouth, Mi.
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Johnny D on December 15, 2011, 05:02:36 PM
What would a Virginia highboy look like?  Do you have any pictures or links?  Don't think I've ever seen one.

JD
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Rick Yochim on December 17, 2011, 05:33:11 PM
Jeff,

Up to a couple of weeks ago, my favorite piece of Virginia furniture was the Jefferson writing desk, a small piece of furniture that I have wanted to reproduce for a long time.

Seems, however, that according to a Jefferson history I just read it's not a Virginia piece after all. When he was at the Continental Congress in 1775 TJ commissioned his landlord, Benjamin Randolph, (a distant relative on his mom's side) to make it. So it's a Philly piece.

A local antiques dealer has a beautiful walnut chest of drawers on her floor that was made in Staunton and epitomizes what I presume to be classic Valley furniture attributes that I like very much.  It has nicely proportioned Chippendale feet, cock beaded (ok, cog beaded) drawers and fluted quarter columns. On the drawer faces is nice but not overdone string inlay. It looks skillfully restored and/or cared for making it something that you would expect an antiques dealer to ask $18,000 for (give or take). If I needed one of those, I would beat feet down there and take measurements and pictures because it is just a very very nice piece.

Rick
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Charles Boland on December 18, 2011, 09:19:32 PM
Rick... Just wondering what or where you read B. Randolph was a distant relative of Mr. Jefferson. Makes sense to me as this was a question raised when I was researching to reproduce Mr Jefferson chair. but never saw anything linking them.
Thanks
Charles
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: John Cashman on December 19, 2011, 12:23:40 AM
Rick, Mickey Callahan is teaching a class on building the Jefferson writing desk at CVSW on two weekends this April in May, in case you are interested.
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Rick Yochim on December 19, 2011, 10:17:05 AM
Charles,

The reference I cite for Benjamin Randolph's making of the writing desk is Joseph J. Ellis' book "American Sphinx" (p.45). Ellis states that Jefferson also commissioned a Windsor chair at the same time but a careful reading would leave one (me anyway) guessing as to whether Randolph also made the chair. In the wealthy cities there were furniture makers and then there were chair makers. Then there were furniture makers who may also have made chairs. It appears that Benjamin Randolph was one of those ambitious furniture makers who also dabbled in real estate like Thomas Elphe did in Charleston.  Ellis states, so I assume that it's common knowledge to historians, that the Randolph property where Jefferson lived was on Chestnut Street.

And to be a Randolph in Virginia - or anywhere else for that matter - was to be a member of one very big clan. They seem to have proliferated like Kennedy's.         

John,

Thanks for the tip. I'll look into it.

Rick
Title: Virginia Highboy?
Post by: David Turner on January 03, 2012, 04:34:11 PM
Hey Jeff:

Isn't the highboy that you and Steve showed us how to build a Virginia piece??

Johnny D (see below) has never seen a Virginia highboy. I built the full size version of your traveling miniature.

David Turner
Plymouth, MI.
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Johnny D on January 03, 2012, 05:43:28 PM
Got any pics?

JD
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Jeff L Headley on January 03, 2012, 08:34:09 PM
The child size highboy we offer as a class certainly has all the attributes to be a Virginia original but as with the original it is a miniature version. The original did have a broken arch top where our class project has a flat top. The original is in a private local collection and with all our originals representations we will have slight alterations of our own as to not step on any ones toes.
Title: Re: Virginia is for Furniture Lovers
Post by: Mark Maleski on January 04, 2012, 10:06:44 AM
Ellis states that Jefferson also commissioned a Windsor chair at the same time but a careful reading would leave one (me anyway) guessing as to whether Randolph also made the chair. In the wealthy cities there were furniture makers and then there were chair makers. Then there were furniture makers who may also have made chairs.

Rick, thanks for this note.  Ellis is a great read (I love his writing style) and I find it easy to accept that Randolphs were all related somehow (Jefferson's mother's maiden name was Randolph), just as the Lees seem to have been.  Benjamin Randolph has several chairs attributed to him; I'm in the middle of reproducing one of them.  But I?m unaware of any windsors attributed to him, and I think those furniture makers who also made chairs (like B. R.) did not, as a general rule, make Windsor chairs.  I think that?s the point you were making above, but not sure.