Pier Table, about 1818–20
Attributed to Thomas Seymour (1771–1848), working either for James Barker (active together, 1817–19), or for Isaac Vose & Son (active together 1819–25), and Thomas Wightman (1759–1827; active in the Vose shop 1819–1825), as carver, Boston
Mahogany (secondary woods: chestnut and pine), with marble and mirror plate
36 in. high, 50 3/4 in. wide, 21 5/8 in. deep
The research on the various incarnations of Isaac Vose in the cabinetmaking business in Boston undertaken by Robert D. Mussey, Jr., and Clark Pearce, first in conjunction with an article titled “Classical Excellence in Boston: The Furniture of Isaac Vose, 1789–1825,” which appeared in Boston Furniture 1700–1900 (Boston, Massachusetts: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2016), pp. 250 ff., and, subsequently, the catalogue of the Vose exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, in 2018, has been extremely revealing with respect to the range and quality of the production of the Vose shop and, concomitantly, the later work of Thomas Seymour, who served as foreman of the Vose shop from 1820 to 1825.
In their article, Mussey and Pearce reproduce a silhouette by Auguste Edouart (1789–1861) of members of the Daniel P. Parker family, which is set against a sepia wash background detailing their parlor at 40 Beacon Street, Boston. At the center of the interior is what they describe as “a Grecian center table” that they suggest “is likely English,” with its apron panels of thick reeding.” (p. 271). (Actually, that table is unknown today, and even in the context of other non-American furniture in the room, it is certainly likely that the Parker center table was made locally). Additionally, the authors illustrate a center table (p. 271 Fig. 31) that they attribute to “Isaac Vose & Son, Boston, 1819–22,” which they believe “was likely modeled” after the Parker table. Both tables have three cabriole legs ending in cuffed paw feet, but the Vose table eliminates the platform of the suspected prototype, and does not have the reeded carving on the apron.
The recent appearance of the present pier table that has been hidden away in a private collection in Eastern New England for more than thirty years is so close in detail to the Vose center table and to the table shown in the Parker silhouette that the two pieces—and possibly yet others that have not yet been identified—may have originally been made en suite as part of a single commission.