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American Decorative Arts

Dressing table

ca. 1780–85

Mahogany, yellow poplar

29 × 34 1/8 × 17 1/2 in. (73.6 × 86.6 × 44.5 cm) other (Case): 33 × 16 5/16 in.(83.8 × 41.4 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
1930.2994
Geography: 
Made in Annapolis, Maryland
Status: 
By appointment
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Furniture
Provenance: 

For more than half a century it has been said that this object was owned originally by Charles Carroll (1737-1832) of Carrollton, Md., but to date no firm evidence to substantiate this tradition has been discovered. It also has been stated that the table was owned by Dr. Henry J. Berkley, an early collector of Maryland furniture, but this does not seem to have been the case. Berkley was the first to publish the table, in Antiques in 1930, and he probably lent his photograph of the table to William MacPherson Hornor, who published it the next year in International Studio, "courtesy of Dr. Henry J. Berkley," whereby the tradition began. Mr. Garvan's records indicate that the table was purchased from R. T. Haines Halsey, New York, and make no mention of Dr. Berkley. Gift in 1930 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Henry J. Berkley, “Early Maryland Furniture,” Antiques 3 (September 1930): 209, fig. 5.

William MacPherson Hornor, “John Shaw, of the Great Days of Annapolis,” International Studio 406 (March 1931): fig. 5.

William Voss Elder, Maryland Queen Anne and Chippendale Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Baltimore: October House, 1968), 75, no. 52.

William Voss Elder and Lu Bartlett, John Shaw: Cabinetmaker of Annapolis, exh. cat. (Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1983), 69–70, no. 12.

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, 220, 232–33, no. 121, ill.

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.