Center Table, about 1818–20
Attributed to Thomas Seymour (1771–1848), working either for James Barker or for Isaac Vose & Son, with Thomas Wightman (1759–1827) as carver, Boston
Mahogany (secondary woods: ash and white pine), with brass castors and green marble top
29 3/4 in. high, 36 in. diameter
RECORDED: Robert D. Mussey, Jr., and Clark Pearce, “Classical Excellence in Boston: The Furniture of Isaac Vose, 1789–1825,” in Boston Furniture 1700–1900 (Boston: The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 2016), p. 271 fig. 31 illus., 272 // Robert D. Mussey, Jr., and Clark Pearce, Rather Elegant Than Showy: The Classical Furniture of Isaac Vose, exhib. cat. (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, in association with David R. Godine, 2018), pp. 128–29, 130 fig. 148
EXHIBITED: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 2018–19, Augmenting the Canon: Recent Acquisitions of American Neo-Classical Decorative Arts, no. 42 not illustrated
In the years after Thomas Seymour closed his own shop in 1817, he worked first for Thomas Barker in the years 1817–19, and then for Isaac Vose, from 1819 until the closure of the Vose shop in 1825.
In their recent study of Vose and the later work of Thomas Seymour, Robert D. Mussey, Jr., and Clark Pearce assigned both this center table and a matching pier table to the Barker/Seymour shop or the Vose/Seymour association in the years 1818–20. A large silhouette by Augustin-Amant-Constan-Fidèle Edouart (1789–1861) shows Daniel P. Parker and his family in the parlor of their home at 40 Beacon Street, Boston. In the curved niche at the left, reflecting the bay on the front of the house, is a table that is either the aforementioned pier table or another of identical or similar design. Also shown by Edouart is a center table with three identical scroll legs that sit on a platform that itself appears to be lifted off the carpet by casters. That table has a horizontally reeded skirt in which is inserted a drawer that appears to be outfitted as a desk.
The present center table is identical in design to the Parker center table, although it lacks the reeding on the skirt, and the drawer.
Mussey and Pearce originally surmised that the Parker center table was possibly an English import that served as the inspiration for the present center table and the companion pier table. But subsequently they admitted that “it could have been either imported or made in Boston," and based upon a whole group of furniture of related design, including a monumental side table made for Parker’s next-door neighbor, Nathan Appleton (collection of Historic New England, Boston), there is little reason to look for its origin outside of Boston.
The carving on the table is by Thomas Wightman, who had a long association with Seymour, first when he ran his own shop, and later during his years with Barker and then Vose.