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A Fine Chippendale / Federal Mahogany Camelback Sofa with a Rare Double Serpentine Rail, Philadelphia, c.1780-1800

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In the world of Chippendale sofas in the colonies, Philadelphia was always a source of standout work and design, and closest to high style English models.  The Philadelphia look is in the outward shaping of the arms, and also the accentuated shapely cant of the rear leg.  What makes this sofa special to the connoisseur, however, is its double serpentine seat rail which gives this form distinction from the ordinary camelback sofa.  This is a departure from the standard single serpentine rail to a double one that seemingly undulates.  We haven’t seen another, and it is absolutely correct (see details below).   Stylistically, while not a particularly large sofa, the use of paired front legs instead of the more economical three legged model, shows it was a more costly step for the cabinetmaker in the Colony/State of Philadelphia, but then again, that’s the reputation Philadelphia furniture has always had.  The seat is quite deep, which adds to the comfort it provides.

This sofa is original in all its parts, including bottom mahogany stretchers, which are often replaced (see below for images of the sofa before being reupholstered, showing all wood structure).  

Recently reupholstered, the bottom is left open for inspection, (again, see images of the frame below).  It is in a fine state of preservation, with the bottom frame reinforced with later angle irons for greater stability and canvas webbing between joints, which is good practice.

Height:  35 in.  Depth: 36 in. Length: 81 in.
Seat Depth: 26 in.  Seat Height: 19 in.
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