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A Philadephia Federal Pembroke table, circa 1805

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Directory: Antiques: Furnishings: Furniture: American: Federal: Pre 1837 VR: item # 1212318

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Columbia, South Carolina

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A Philadephia Federal Pembroke table, circa 1805
An amazing untouched American Federal mahogany Pembroke table, attributed to Joseph B. Barry of Philadelphia, circa 1805. This refined table is one of the earliest known examples of Barry’s work after he moved to Philadelphia in 1794, after immigrating from Ireland to America in the late eighteenth century. Barry most likely made this table around 1800-1805, after he opened his first location at 148 South Third Street. Barry developed a distinctive and somewhat aggressive style, not reflected in this early piece, which is more reminiscent of New York City Federal work, most likely due to Barry’s natural insecurity to the unfamiliarity of fashionable Philadelphia’s society. His later work, just a decade after moving, was anything but conventional in nature. Sideboard, bureaus, secretary’s,and chairs that were the product of his workshop were as exuberant and flamboyant as one can imagine, often affixed with caved details of the Classical era, including figureheads, Gothic panels, and reeded details. His workshop is widely known for being the first in America to gravitate towards the Egyptian taste, that had transfixed English craftsman and designers of the era, including, most notably, Thomas Hope and George Smith. Curiously, despite Barry relatively unfettered rise to popularity, his style was not imitated by other cabinetshops in the same vicinity. Exactly why this did not occur, in at present unknown. The present Pembroke table is a remarkable survival from a percipient innovator of the America Federal and Classical era. CONDITION: Exceptional. The table appear to retain it’s original surface. The brass casters and pull are original. Additionally, this delicate table survives absent of repairs of any kind. Minor and expected veneers facing loss, which would fall under the category of care and conservation, rather than repair.

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