Lot Details & Additional Photographs
With mirror, mid-19th century, mahogany, mahogany veneers over poplar and yellow pine, tall arched mirror frame centered with a carved finial, swing mirror, above ogee glove drawers, black variegated marble top above four drawers, spurred bracket foot base.
97 x 43.5 x 22 in.
From The Home of Mable J. Hunt Thomas Day, a master cabinet maker and skilled artisan and architectural woodworker, was a free man of color living in North Carolina during the pre-Civil War era. Born in 1801 in Virginia, he settled in Caswell County in the late 1820s and opened his shop on Main Street in Milton. In an area of prosperous tobacco planters, his clientele soon became the elite of the county, North Carolina, and Virginia. A strong patron of his work was Governor David S. Reid (1851-1854) and it was with Governor ReidÕs collection of eighteen pieces that in 1975, the North Carolina Museum of History held an exhibition of DayÕs work.According to the late Patricia Marshall,ÒThis exhibition Òwas a big step toward rescuing the African American cabinet makerÕs career and craft from the shadows of history.Ó Four of the pieces from the Mabel Hunt collection offered in this sale were included in the exhibit with the following as their introduction in the exhibition catalogue,ÒThe Hunt pieces were made by Day for the Hunt House when it was built in the early part of the nineteenth century. Grandson Holmes Glenn Hunt is the sixth generation of Hunts to live in the old place which still houses the Day furniture.Ó (p. 45).The Hunt House also features Thomas Day architectural elements, such as the newel post depicted here. (Additional references to the Hunt home and its Thomas Day crafted architectural elements can be found in Marshall and LeimenstollÕs definitive work Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color. While the curvilinear designs and symmetry of DayÕs pieces represent his time, Jonathan Prown writes in the Winterthur Portfolio, 1998, that Thomas DayÕs work was Òclassically inspired urban norms of the period in highly innovative ways, but which also diverged from those norms.Ó Thomas Day died in 1863 and is buried in Caswell County. Marshall, Patricia Phillips and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll. Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010. North Carolina Museum of History. Thomas Day Cabinet Maker. Exhibition Catalog; Raleigh: North Carolina Museum of History, 1975. Prown, Jonathan. ÒThe Furniture of Thomas Day: A Reevaluation.Ó Winterthur Portfolio 33 (Winter 1998).
Outstanding example of Day's craftsmanship. A similar example, with simple Greek Revival lines, is in the collection of the North Carolina Museum of History.
Old surface; good estate condition.
$4,000 - 8,000