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The johnson family important queen anne figured maple dressing table

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This dressing table was originally owned by the Johnson family of Philadelphia, successful tanners, property holders and Quakers, and stood for approximately 130 years in their home in Germantown. The house was completed in 1768 and given by Dirck Jansen, an early settler of Germantown, to his son John Johnson on the occasion of his marriage to Rachel Livezey in 1769 (Harold Eberlein and Courtlandt van Dyke Hubbard, Portrait of a Colonial City, Philadelphia, 1670-1838, p. 380). The dressing table was most likely purchased around the time of their marriage, probably from William Savery (1721/2-1787), the Philadelphia chair maker and a fellow Quaker. It remained in the possession of family owners of the Johnson House until 1905 and is owned by a Johnson descendant today. Retaining its original brass hardware, this dressing table is distinguished by its exceptional carving and fine construction of highly-figured maple. It displays several characteristics associated with William Savery’s work. The edges of the skirt are traced with an uninterrupted scored line similar to that found on his early chairs (see Joseph Downs, American Furniture, New York, 1952, pl. 110). The top drawer simulates his preferred design for three short top drawers while at the same time following the local preference for one long top drawer. The scalloped skirt with a central fish-tail pendant appears on a dressing table that has been attributed to Savery on the basis of a history of descent in his family (Samuel W. Woodhouse, Jr., “Philadelphia Cabinet Makers,” PMA Bulletin 20 [January 1925]: pp. 62-63). Other Philadelphia dressing tables with this distinctive pendant include one illustrated in the Girl Scouts Loan Exhibition catalog (New York: American Art Galleries, 1929, no. 566), one illustrated in American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, Volume I, p. 195, and another believed to have been originally owned by Ben Franklin (see Jack Lindsey, Worldly Goods, 1999, no. 56, p. 145). An additional example sold in these rooms, Property from the Collection of Gunston Hall Plantation, January 20, 2002, sale 7753, lot 1136.\nA set of six maple side chairs in a private collection with the same family history in the Johnson Family also bears an attribution to William Savery. They were sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 20-22, 2006, sale 8158, lot 530, for the record price of $2,144,000.


Height 30in. by width 33in. by depth 20in. (76.2cm by 83.8cm by 50.8cm)


Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, April 11 – October 10, 1976.


Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976, p. 52.


The dressing table was owned by the Johnson Family at their home, the Johnson House (completed 1768), located at 6305 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, as follows: Dirck and Margaret Johnson; John (d. 1810) and Rachel (Livezey) Johnson; To their son, Samuel Johnson (d. 1847); To his son, Samuel, and daughter, Elizabeth (d. 1905); To their nephew, Samuel Johnson (d. 1920); Women’s Club of Germantown (1920); Purchased from Johnson estate sale in the 1930s by a Johnson descendant.


Property of Direct Descendants of John Johnson

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*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.