Neoclassicism in the New Nation
Scrolls and Pillars, 1815-1840
A second wave of neoclassicism featured furniture in a heavier, monumental mode echoing more literally the designs of ancient Greece, Rome, and occasionally Egypt.
Often labeled the Empire style, as a reference to its indebtedness to the era of Napoleon Bonaparte, the designs of this era reflected French as well as English taste. In Boston, Isaac Vose and Son and Emmons and Archbald were leading manufacturers of the new style. The latter firm’s shop, representative of the larger urban shops of this era, included a commodious warehouse and a workshop with eleven workbenches for journeymen and apprentices.
As the nineteenth century progressed, companies of all sizes created massive tables, chests, and other forms characterized as “pillar and scroll” furniture after two of its principal attributes.
- Cooper, Wendy A. Classical Taste in America, 1800-1840. New York: Abbeville Press, 1993.
- Feld, Stuart P., with an introductory essay by Page Talbott. Boston in the Age of Neo-Classicism, 1810-1840. New York: Hirschl and Adler Galleries, 1999.
- Hall, John. John Hall and the Grecian Style in America: A Reprint of Three Pattern Books published in 1840 with an Illustrated Essay by Thomas Gordon Smith. New York: Acanthus Books, 1996.
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- Talbott, Page. “Seating Furniture in Boston, 1810-1835.” Antiques 139, no. 5 (May 1991): 956-69.