Lot 725
Thomas Day Dressing Chest, NC
Lot Details & Additional Photographs
Mid 19th century, mahogany veneers over yellow pine and poplar, a carved swing mirror hangs from scrolled supports above side by side glove drawers over a partial marble top, serpentine drawers, carved feet.

89 x 42 x 21 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).

Exhibited in the North Carolina Museum of History's "Thomas Day: Cabinetmaker" held in 1975. (page 50).

Top two drawers with wood loss at left sides; scattered surface blemishes.

$1,000 - 3,000