Furniture Styles

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Antique Duncan Phyfe Beds

In the work of Duncan Phyfe, and other Federal era furniture makers such as Samuel McIntire, American style bed making reaches a more decorative phase with now much attention paid to post ornamentation in the form of hand carving.

The bed posts were customarily of mahogany; below the railing they were either square or fluted and above turned in a drawn-out vase shape and fluted with acanthus leaf, water leaf, drapery or grain head motifs. Ordinarily this lavish attention was restricted to the foot posts with those at the head standing in relative plainess.

American Bed Frame
American Bed Frame.

Cornices were normally of carved pine, painted and gilded, and often made in the same architectural style as the cornices of the room in which they stood, as was common in Federal interiors and houses.

Headboards of Phyfe beds were either left starkly plain or allowed a little cresting along the upper edge. The tester ordinarily also remained a simple frame on which to hang drapes.

From the Federal type beds of Phyfe and McIntire it was only a small step in development to Empire beds, the next part.

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