Eastern Virginia, probably Petersburg
Walnut, yellow pine
Circa 1785-1790
H: 81”; W: 43”; D: 17”

An elegant press in the Chinese Chippendale taste from the tidewater region of Virginia in a very desirable, mellowed walnut finish. Petersburg, a sophisticated cabinetmaking center in the period after the Revolutionary War, emerges as the most likely candidate for the origin of this press. The city fostered artisans with the skill and sophistication to produce fashionable furniture- expressed here in the Chinese fenestration patterns on the doors of the upper case and the tall and straight bracket feet. After the Norfolk fire of 1776 many cabinetmakers relocated to Petersburg which survived the Revolution relatively unscathed. By 1790 Petersburg and neighboring Richmond were the largest cities in Virginia.

Stylistically, the press also expresses the continued appeal of the neat and plain to Virginia clientele whose tastes were shaped by their Anglo roots and enlightenment ideals even after the war was over. For several decades following the war, the influence of Petersburg cabinetmakers extended south into the Roanoke River basin into North Carolina.


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