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Corner Cupboard

Place Made:
Norfolk Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany –poplar
HOA: 83 3/4; WOA: 50 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Corner cupboard; cornice with dentil molding over bell flowers and shell patera; two doors with eighteen lights enclose three shaped shelves; molding separates upper case from lower; lower cupboard has two doors with oval inlays enclosing one curved shelf; straight bracket feet.

This piece is one of the few surviving corner cupboards made in the urban coastal South. Several other cupboards with similar details have been seen, all very likely the work of a Norfolk shop. In contrast, no free-standing neoclassical cupboards from Baltimore or Charleston have been recorded. Its formality and cross-banded mahogany veneers lend it a strongly British aspect. Characteristic of Norfolk work is the use of a black pitch-like material for inlay instead of ebony. On this cupboard, the dark portion of the door stringing is pitch, which is a logical substitute for wood in a port city noted for its shipbuilding.

RELATED WORKS: This cupboard is reminiscent of a corner cupboard in Burroughs at plate XII of the cupboard section. That piece has an oval four-leaf patera at the top. (Burroughs cupboard ties in with the quatrefoil inlaid group which includes the MESDA Pembroke table Acc. 3639)

This corner cupboard was discovered in the city of Portsmouth, Virginia.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund