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American Decorative Arts

Dressing Table


American black walnut, southern yellow pine

29 × 33 7/8 × 20 1/8 in. (73.6 × 86 × 51.1 cm)
other (Case): 28 1/8 × 18 3/16 in. (71.5 × 46.2 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
From the late seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century, dressing tables were usually made en suite with high chests and were often placed between windows to make use of available light. This dressing table includes classic Philadelphia features: the cove molding between the top and sides; the spacing between the drawers; the double brasses on the drawers; and the ogee moldings turned on the upper portions of the ball feet.
Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
18th century

According to tradition, this dressing table has a history of ownership in the Frankenfield family of Philadelphia. It was acquired by collector Howard Reifsnyder of Philadelphia, and purchased at auction in 1929 by Francis P. Garvan, New York Gift in 1930 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


American Art Association, New York, Colonial Furniture: The Superb Collection of the Late Howard Reifsnyder, sale cat. (April 24–27, 1929).

Walter A. Dyer, “The American Lowboy: William and Mary – Queen Anne,” Antiquarian 2, no. 17 (August 1931): 34, ill.

Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 195, 201–3, 205, no. 97, ill.

Dennis Andrew Carr, American Colonial Furniture: Guide to the Collection, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2004), 5, 16, fig. 7.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.