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Sheraton Style Sofa

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Unknown Artist

Sheraton Style Sofa

Wood, upholstery

34 in. x 78 in. x 24 in. (86.36 cm x 198.12 cm x 60.96 cm)
Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: Deanery.352
Other Number(s): W.1 (Wyndham No.)
Classification: Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture; Couch
Collection: Deanery Collection
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

Eight-legged wooden sofa with floral upholstery. Back legs are tapering squares, but front legs are fluted with brass claw feet. Armrests curve in front and are supported by an upholstered panel and fluted element. Above the upholstery are two carved panels of vertical lines surrounding a third that contains a sheaf of wheat tied with a bow.

Sheraton style refers to furniture created in the 19th century that emulates the work of the 18th century English cabinetmaker, Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806). The 19th century saw the revival and coexistence of many styles. The recreation of Sheraton’s designs was made possible through Sheraton’s two handbooks The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book (1791-1794) and The Cabinet Dictionary (1802). Sheraton’s original designs are a well-documented example of 18th century recreation of classical forms and decoration, now known as European Neoclassicism, whose inspiration drew from the contemporary rediscovery of the classical world through archaeology. The adoption of European Neoclassicism in America is also often referred to as the Federal Style.

The design on the back of the sofa of the sheaf of wheat tied with a bow is often associated with the American cabinetmaker, Duncan Phyfe. Born in Scotland, Phyfe (1768-1854) immigrated to New York and became one of the best known American cabinetmakers of the period. His large workshop production and popularity has led to the term of Phyfe Style to refer to work by his workshop or others emulating his designs. Phyfe’s designs can be considered under the umbrella of American Neoclassicism, or the Federal Style, which emulated classical forms and decoration.

Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • carvings - Refers to works executed by cutting a figure or design out of a solid material such as stone or wood. It typically refers to works that are relatively small in size, are part of a larger work, or are not considered art. For large and medium-sized three-dimensional works of art, use the broader term "sculpture" or another appropriate term.
  • English - Refers to the culture of the modern country of England, or in general to cultures that have occupied the southern part of the island of Great Britain, usually excluding Wales. It may refer to the the culture of the Angles, one of the Teutonic peoples who settled in Britain in fifth century CE. The term is occasionally used to refer to the culture of the entire nation of the United Kingdom, although technically England is an administrative subdivision of the United Kingdom.
  • Sheraton - Describes satinwood, mahogany, and painted furniture in England and the United States from 1790 to 1805 and based on designs published by English cabinetmaker Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806). Sheraton's three influential books progress in style from Neoclassical to Empire though now his name is used to describe the general taste in furniture at the end of the 18th century.
  • sofas - Long, upholstered seating objects with a back and two ends, and primarily used for sitting rather than reclining. Distinct from "couches (reclining furniture)" which have a back support and one end and are primarily used for reclining rather than sitting. The term "sofa" was first used in France at the end of the 17th century as an alternative for canapé. The terms sofa and settee are virtually interchangeable in 20th-century usage but there is a distinction between the two; a sofa is generally completely upholstered.
  • upholstery - Refers to the fixed soft coverings for furniture, especially seating and reclining furniture. Originally referred to all the textile components of a room supplied by upholsterers, including wall hangings, bed hangings, window curtains, and table coverings.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

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Additional Image Deanery.352_BMC_f_2.jpg

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • Milo M. Naeve, Identifying American Furniture (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998), 24-25; 26-27. Figure Number: 47
  • Joseph T. Butler, Field Guide to American Antique Furniture (New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1985), 48-58; 56-57.

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Sheraton Style Sofa |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=9/25/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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