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Mahogany Corner Washstand

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Unknown Artist

Mahogany Corner Washstand


32 1/2 in. x 18 in. x 17 1/2 in. (82.55 cm x 45.72 cm x 44.45 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: Deanery.762
W.112 (Wyndham No.)
Classification: Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture
Collection: Deanery Collection
Three-legged corner washstand. Square legs that flare out slightly are joined by a T-stretcher with round shelf. In front is small drawer and door with inlaid fan medallion, which opens into compartment inside. Folding top on hinges opens to the side and section in front pulls forward to create a small shelf, revealing a round hole in the center of the stand for a basin.

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  • mahogany - Refers to the wood of trees of the genus Swietenia, found in tropical climates, primarily in Mexico, Cuba, Central America, and the West Indies. It varies in color from yellow to a rich red brown, and is valued in furniture-making and sculpture-carving because it is hard, fine-grained, and takes a high polish. Mahogany has a fine, straight grain that takes a high polish. It is dimensionally stable and does not shrink, warp, or swell. The durable, dark reddish-brown wood was imported to Europe in the 18th century where it became popular for furniture, paneling and veneer. Ammonia brings out a rich, red color in mahogany wood. Mahogany is frequently attacked by pinhole borer beetles. Many woods of similar colors have also been called mahoganies, but usually do not have rich color or fine cutting characteristics of the true mahogany wood. However, the related African genus Khaya produces a similar wood. Mahogany was used by Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and the Adam brothers for high quality furniture.
  • marquetry - The technique in which small pieces of specially shaped wood, or sometimes other materials such as ivory, are incorporated into a suface of decorative veneer. Distinguished from "inlay," where decorative pieces are set into a solid ground; in marquetry, the entire surface is veneered.
  • Swietenia - Genus of evergreen trees from tropical America including at least 3 species, which hybridize easily when grown in proximity; thus the species are poorly defined biologically. The trees have a hard wood that turns reddish brown at maturity, valued as timber. The leaflets of each large leaf are arranged like a feather, but there is no terminal leaflet.
  • washstands - Furniture combining features of a table and cupboard and used to hold articles (as a pitcher, basin, and towel) for washing the hands and face.

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Mahogany Corner Washstand |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=4/11/2021 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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