This worktable relates to a group of lyre work tables produced primarily in Philadelphia. One documented example retains its maker’s label, but other shops may or may not have reinterpreted the model. The primary research on this form was conducted by Henry Hawley for the Cleveland Museum of Art, wherein he explores card tables and work tables, ostensibly by this maker.
An example related to our worktable is illustrated by Hawley in Fig.17 (see scan below from The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art
, January 1988). Note the use of the open lyre as opposed to those which have a solid board shaped into a lyre silhouette (see sw00889 in our collection
). The open lyre provides a degree of lightness to the worktable. Also, whereas Hawley’s example relies on contrasting woods of bird’s eye maple and mahogany, our worktable relies on carving as its main embellishment. Also note the relationship between the lyre pedestal on this worktable and other tables made in Philadelphia at this time. (Two examples in our private collection are a worktable and a dulcimer case; both are shown in images below.)
This piece is in fine condition, and the carving is exceptionally crisp throughout. Also note the beautifully carved paw feet, which are a transition from the more usual brass caster foot. The original glass pulls also add a very nice touch. The mahogany, as expected, is of the finest quality showing beautiful figure throughout on an old historic surface.