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Bedstead

Artist/Maker:
Hall, Richard __Attributed to
Place Made:
Halifax North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1774-1777
Medium:
mahogany –dogwood –yellow pine
Dimensions:
HOA: 95 5/8; WOA: 55 3/4; DOA: 77 1/4
Accession Number:
2377
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Bedstead; footposts are fluted and stop-fluted with separate inset reeds of contrasting wood, over a shaped urn carved with elongated oak and fern leaves, above squared legs with applied block feet which are carved with egg and dart on three sides; large screws evident on posts where they meet footboards and headboards; headposts have same feet, an urn with no relief carving, and a plain turned upper post.

ATTRIBUTION: Attributed to Richard Hall, who in 1765 was ordered by Royal White Hart (Masonic) Lodge in Halifax to “make a chair for the use of the Lodge.” This was a master’s chair which still survives. The leaf carving decorating the top of the arms of the chair, in addition to the style and quality of the chair’s column turnings, enable us to attribute the bed to Hall.

CARVINGS: The somewhat naive oak leaf carving of the vase turnings on the bed are closely related to the chair carving. While this carving is not of urban quality, the form of the turnings are very sophisticated.

STYLE: A very characteristic detail of the Roanoke River Basin school of cabinetmaking in North Carolina is the use of light wood decoration. With its dogwood stop-fluting and applied ovolo moldings on all four feet, this bed represents the earliest known example of such decoration in this school and is one of four beds surviving from eighteenth-century eastern North Carolina. (RAES)

CONSTRUCTION: The yellow pine blocks inside the feet are tacked in place with wrought nails, possibly indicating an eighteenth-century removal of casters. Approximately 12 3/4″ of the top of the posts have been removed.

WOODS: mahogany with dogwood stop fluting and yellow pine blocks.

History:
This bedstead descended in the family of General Allen Jones (1739-1807) and his second wife, Rebecca (Edwards) Jones (d. 1784), of Mount Gallant Plantation in Northampton County, North Carolina. Educated as a young man at Eton College in England, Allen was the son of Robert Jones (1718-1766), a colonial Attorney General of North Carolina. During the American Revolution, Jones served as a brigadier general in the North Carolina militia, President of the North Carolina Senate, and a delegate for North Carolina to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

The bedstead was owned and used by four generations of Rebecca Joneses. In his will, General Jones bequeathed the use of Mount Gallant plantation and its contents to his granddaughters, Rebecca (1795-1881) and Mary Long (1797-1885), daughters of his only child by his second marriage, Rebecca Edwards (Jones) Long (1770-1797). Rebecca Long married Cadwallader Jones (1788-1861) and by 1840 had left Mount Gallant and her lands in Halifax County for Hillsborough, North Carolina, where she is buried at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. The bedstead then descended in the family of her daughter, Sarah Rebecca (Jones) Collins (1833-1892), who joined her mother in Hillsborough and is also buried at St. Matthews Episcopal Church.

RELATED OBJECTS: The pair of Edenton card tables in the MESDA Collection (MESDA Acc. 2720, 5818) belonged to Allen Jones’s father, Robert Jones (1718-1766), and descended in the family of his younger brother, Governor Willie Jones (1741-1802) of Halifax County.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund