The Renowned Collection
Unlike the rest of Boscobel’s collection of A+ examples of New York Neoclassical furniture, this work table’s maker was not yet a master of his craft.
Joel Curtis (active 1817-19)
Work table, c. 1815-19
Mahogany, mahogany veneer, tulip poplar, white pine, brass, baize
Gift of funds from Lila Acheson Wallace and other donors F76.38
The carved leaf decoration on its upper legs and urn support are flatter and more irregular compared to the crisp standard of New York “waterleaf” decoration. A large knot on the work table’s proper right side indicates that the maker could not afford, or did not have access to the highest quality mahogany.
While Joel Curtis was not one of New Yorks finest cabinetmakers, he thought enough of this table to label it, making it very rare and important to historians. New York City directories between 1817-19 list Curtis as having worked on Chamber Street, the address given on the label. Almost nothing more about him is known, but hopefully additional information and examples of his work will come to light.