An Outstanding Satinwood and Mahogany Hepplewhite / Inlaid Serpentine front Sideboard/Commode, New York, c.1790, probably William Whitehead
This is one of the finest sideboards in our collection and is composed of brilliant rarely found satinwood and profusely inlaid with bellflowers, patera, and line inlay. It is of serpentine form, which is the most desirable form that these sideboards take.
Also illustrated below is a similarly inlaid New York serpentine sideboard listed as “Best” in Albert Sack’s Fine Points of Furniture: Early American. Note the development of inlaid details including the bellflowers on the legs and pateras. Note, on our sideboard, the additional oval inlay in the middle of the top drawer, whereas the Sack sideboard is all mahogany, ours employs a wealth of satinwood on doors and drawers, which is highly desirable. If Sack considers his a masterpiece, then, to be sure, ours is in that category and then some.
Also illustrated below is a satinwood sideboard in our private collection which was formerly handled by the Pricketts, a major dealer who specialized in this category of sideboard, with the same basic layout but, of a less desirable D-form, (not serpentine).
Possible attribution to William Whitehead is suggested by the distinctive bellflower and looping vine pattern of inlay that appears on the leg in association with the shaded oval patera pattern above. The final image below is an illustration of another Whitehead piece--a Pembroke table--with a matching arrangement of the same patera and bellflower inlay seen on our sideboard.
This sideboard is the best of the best. We have French polished it and brought to a beautiful presentation state, the type of sideboard that one would see in the diplomatic reception rooms, etc. There are no breaks or alterations, and this has been in my personal collection for about 20 years.
Height: 42 1/2 in. Depth: 30 in. Length: 72 in.
sw00779 - $35,000