“To a Walnut Dask” Part I

Christopher Storb has written an interesting post on a walnut bureau made in Philadelphia by the English joiner, John Head, who emigrated to British America in 1717.

Jack Plane.

In Proportion to the Trouble

In the account book of the joiner John Head (1688-1754) there are debit entries for 45 desks, the first entry coming in 1719, two years after Head immigrated from England to Philadelphia, the last in 1742, two years before he ended his production of furniture.

Compared to chests of drawers, there are few extant desks made before 1740 that can be attributed to the Delaware River Valley.  To date, only one desk, in a private collection, has been attributed to the shop of John Head.

For an unsigned or undocumented object to be attributed to a specific maker, the object must conform in multiple and significant ways to signed or otherwise documented objects from that maker.  Some features regarded as characteristic of furniture documented to the shop of John Head have been discussed in previous posts. The desk described and illustrated below follows the construction, design…

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About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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3 Responses to “To a Walnut Dask” Part I

  1. Mr Jay Robert Stiefel has just published a book called Cabinetmaker Account: John Heads record of craft and commerce in Colonial Philadelphia 1718-53. Isbn 9780871692719.

    I do think what Christopher Storb is publishing, is fantastic because we get that chance to read inside and look at the mechanics. Mr Alan Miller Philadelphia furniture Expert and I had dinner a year ago to which we discussed the use of hard pine. Hard pine is a red pine also from my research of Philadelphia furniture from a British eye. It can look very similar to Redwood or deal and even scientifically very hard to tell the difference . In fact some Red woods in America are still called Norway Pines as from the early settlers. Mr Miller told me this timber was not used in Colonial furniture but thanks to Mr Storb detailed photos even with knots in that this is simply a mistruth.
    Red pine or hard pine was used in furniture making and together with the other anomalies goes to show there is a lot still learn. That’s why two and three heads are better than one.
    The finish also looks very interesting if original? I wounder if they used a white polish as they did in Boston?
    I also see that the evidence on the inside of the drawer shows the handles are not original but later replacements.
    It’s a very interesting model and I look forward to part two as well as reading Mr Stiefel book

    Like

  2. Mark Dennehy says:

    Thanks for the link Jack, adding that blog to my list…

    Like

  3. Pingback: John Head’s Account Book | Pegs and 'Tails

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