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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

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Sheraton Style Sofa |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=10/20/2021 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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