American Style

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

GasLamp and GasLamp Too offer a wealth of Victorian and French styles in furniture and porcelain, their luxurious curves and flourishes creating a sumptuous aesthetic. But when the eye needs a breather, GasLamp Booth B-300 offers one with its classic furnishings that represent the two substyles of Early American and 18th Century Colonial.

 

During the early 20th century both of these styles were revived in a home décor style called Colonial. Comprised of Early American and 18th-Century Colonial influences, the style encompassed furniture that was as varied as the early American settlers.

 

The 18th-Century Colonial style tended to be more formal, beginning with carpets that were fine Orientals or Aubussons (photo, above right; a room from a home dating to 1747 in Pawling, N.Y.). The finer old 18th- and early 19th-century antiques find their place within this style and include the mahogany secretary, pie crust tables and wingback chairs, along with English imports such as Staffordshire art pottery.

 

The more casual and rustic Early American style features heavier furniture, such as cupboards and chests, and accessories such as hooked rugs and hand-pieced quilts (photo, left; another room from a home dating to 1747 in Pawling, N.Y.).

 

In the photo, right, is a gorgeous example of what GasLamp Booth B-300 has to offer. This Southern corner cabinet was made, circa 1800, for a marriage off the Fox-Taylor union ($2,750). One can see the handmade pegs that were used in furniture construction at that time, as well as the inlaid marquetry surnames of “Fox” and “Taylor.” There is also some impressive dentil molding above double doors (inset, below right).

 

The back of this piece is original, while the base was replaced at some time. This piece is definitely unique and is in great condition for its age.

 

The bride of this Fox-Taylor union would have used this corner cupboard for its typical function at the time: she would have kept her choicest pieces of family china within it. In the 1800s, she might have called it a “boffet,” “bowfat” or “buffit.” These were all corruptions of the word “buffet” that have been found in historic records of the period. This style of corner furniture was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, and extended to cabinets, shelves and chairs, as well.


In the photo, left, is an antique, 19th-century English pewtwer charger plate with a well-developed patina ($150). Even though pewtwer items were being made in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by 1640, colonists still brought pewter with the from thir native England, and such items became part of our decorating lexicon.

 

The scalloped edge of this plate is classic and adds an element of Americana to any room. It would be used as a charger or placed on a plate shelf for display.

 

In the photo, right, is a blue-and-white, salt-glazed art potter pitcher embossed with the image of cows ($95). In the Deep South, the matrons of a family would serve such a pitcher of warm buttermilk with meals, the yellow flecks of fat still swimming on top. Buttermilk served in a pitcher was also recorded during the Civil War’s Battle of Williamsburg, fought on May 5, 1862, by a Victoria Lee, who entered The Baptist Church on Market Square “carrying a pitcher of buttermilk to the sick soldiers.”

 

In the photo, left, is a custom-made lamp with a handmade linen shade ($125). The base is made from a long-established design of butter churn that has a long history, dating back hundreds of years.  This model was done in stoneware with a dark brown glaze.

 

To bring some simplicity into one’s home, simply look to the Early American and 18th-Century Colonial styles. With their elegant, but spare, lines and earthy colors, they bring a sense of peace to any space.

 

 

 

 

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