Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Richmond, VA

804 367-0844


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Acquires Historic American Furniture


Two pieces of American furniture have been acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. . The two pieces of furniture purchased by the museum are an octagonal tilt-top table made by Charles Koones (American, 1791-1857) in Alexandria, Va., in about 1830, and a monumental bonnet-top high chest of drawers made in Philadelphia about 1745-1750. (left: Bonnet-top high chest of drawers, c. 1745-50, Philadelphia, carved and figured mahogany, 7 feet 11 inches high, photo by Katherine Wetzel, © 2000 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

The octagonal table was crafted in carved-and-veneered mahogany and exotic woods and has stenciled-gilt decoration and original brass casters. It stands 29 1/2 inches high and measures 44 inches in diameter. "This well documented piece of Southern American furniture in the classical style of the early 19th century is as imposing and beautifully crafted as anything coming out of Boston, New York or Philadelphia," says Dr. David Park Curry, curator of American arts for the museum.

The chest of drawers is made of carved-and-figured mahogany with original brass pulls and stands 7 feet 11 inches tall. Formerly owned by automobile magnate Henry Ford, the piece is notable for its "sculptural power," Curry says. "The chest offers an authoritative statement of early rococo aesthetics in Philadelphia," he says. "Our acquisition of this imposing chest will allow our visitors to explore complex issues in American art and culture while enjoying a superior piece of 18th-century cabinetry. "

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