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Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

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Antiques Considered - April 30, 2014

This Hepplewhite-style corner cabinet belongs to a family originally from Fairfax County. The wood is mahogany with satinwood inlay and pine as secondary wood. The owner’s grandfather had the piece built in Alexandria over 100 years ago. All of the wood is solid, with no modern plywood backing, and the doors have independent panes of glass. The piece shows some wear, but is in excellent condition.

As a rule I do not cover reproductions, but this corner cupboard ranks as an exception. At the time this piece was made, several good cabinetmakers in Alexandria were producing some fine pieces. I suggest trying to see if any signature or labeling can be found on the back, the presence of which could have significant impact in determining its value.

The architecture of the cupboard is quite good. The finial might be a little large and the feet more plain than one might expect, but the scroll and design of the door pattern are excellent.  The cabinetmaker clearly was trying to reproduce the pattern used in the period of 1790 – 1820, and he succeeded very well.

The thirteen panes in each door represent the thirteen original colonies, a practice often used by Federal Period cabinetmakers. The panels in the lower two doors are also typical of the manner of the Federal Period. The design of the burl paneling shows great attention to detail.

From the photograph I am concerned that sunlight could be causing some fading, If that is the case, keeping a blind or shade drawn might be advisable.

Good corner cupboards always are popular, but as with most other antiques and fine furniture, the values have declined over the last few years, mirroring the situation of the general economy. The great value of this piece is in the potential of learning who made it.  The Alexandria cabinetmakers of the early nineteenth century have their own following, with collectors always available. Without knowing the maker’s name this piece is worth $1,500, but if the maker can be determined that figure could increase significantly.

Henry Lane Hull and his wife Lisa operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie duPont Hwy. in Wicomico Church, VA.  Write to him at P. O. Box 35, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 or e-mail questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Happy Antiquing!

 

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