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Robert Mussey and Anne Rogers Haley
John Cogswell and Boston Bombé Furniture: Thirty-Five Years of Revolution in Politics and Design

American Furniture 1994

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Sectional adaptation derived from A New Plan of Boston From Actual Surveys By Osgood Carleton, With Corrections, Additions and Improvements, Boston, 1800. (Adaptation, Eliza McClennen.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Brattle Square Church, Boston, 1772–1773. Photograph by Josiah Johnson Hawes, Boston, 1859. Brattle Square Church was centrally located near the Town Market, Dock Square, Faneuil Hall, and the Province House. (Courtesy, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Interior of Brattle Square Church, photo 1866–1872. (Courtesy, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Pulpit attributed to William Crafts and William Burbeck, Boston, 1772–1773. Mahogany and mahogany veneer with white pine. H. 83 5/8", W. 50 1/8", D. 18 3/4". (Courtesy, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, acc. 1975.195, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, acc. MHS 255 [base]; photo, David Bohl.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Detail of the carving on the pulpit from Brattle Square Church. (Photo, David Bohl.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Design for a pulpit illustrated on pl. 112 in Batty Langley’s The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs (1740; reprint, London, 1756). (Courtesy, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.)

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Comparison of the pulpit from (a) Brattle Square Church and (b) pl. 112 in Langley’s Treasury. (Drawing, Eliza McClennen.)

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    John Singleton Copley, Thomas Amory II, Boston, oil on canvas, ca. 1770-1772. H. 49 3/4", W. 39 1/2". (Courtesy, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Museum purchase, funds provided by William Wilson Corcoran, acc. 1989.22.)

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Desk attributed to John Cogswell, Boston, 1780–1784. Mahogany with white pine. H. 42 3/4", W. 37 3/8", D. 19 5/8". Only two serpentine front bombé desks are known. (Private collection; photo, David Bohl.)

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Detail of the interior of the desk illustrated in fig. 9. The distinctive amphitheater design occurs on only three other desks, all of bombé form. (Photo, David Bohl.)

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Detail of the case construction of the desk illustrated in fig. 9. (Photo, David Bohl.)

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Brass backplate and handle no. 1149 illustrated on pl. 55 in an anonymous brass founder’s catalogue, England, n.d., ca. 1770–1780. Amory sold hardware and probably owned catalogues from English manufacturers who offered this pattern or a similar one. (Courtesy, Winterthur Library: Printed Book and Periodical Collection.)

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Chest-on-chest signed John Cogswell with carving attributed to the Skillin shop, Boston, 1782. Mahogany with white pine. H. 97", W. 44 1/4", D. 23 1/2". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Reproduced with permission. © 2000 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All rights reserved. acc. 1973.289.)

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Inscription on the top board of the lower case of the chest-on-chest illustrated in fig. 13. (Photo, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.)

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Detail of the pediment of the chest-on-chest illustrated in fig. 13. (Photo, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.)

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Detail of the finial, fret, and scrollboard carving on the chest-on-chest illustrated in fig. 13. (Photo, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.)

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Desk attributed to John Cogswell, Boston, 1770–1780. Mahogany with white pine. H. 42 1/2", W. 40 1/8", D. 20 3/4". (Private collection; photo, Will Brown.)

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Detail of the chalk initials “JC” on the top board of the lower case of the desk illustrated in fig. 17. (Photo, Joseph Godla.)

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Comparative profiles of the sides of (a) Amory desk, fig. 9; (b) two-part desk, fig. 17; (c) chest-on-chest signed “John Cogswell,” fig. 13; (d) Storer chest of drawers, fig. 33; (e) chest of drawers, fig. 43; (f) chest of drawers, fig. 40; (g) desk-and-bookcase signed “Benj. Frothingham” and “BF 1753” (Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, not illustrated). (Drawing, Eliza McClennen.)

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    Desk-and-bookcase attributed to John Cogswell, Boston, 1786. Mahogany with white pine. H. 99 1/4", W. 45 1/8", D. 22 7/8". This desk-and-bookcase has two inscriptions, “1786 AD” and “Jackson [?].” (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, acc. 59.3414.)

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Detail of the case construction of the chest of drawers illustrated in fig. 41. (Photo, Art Institute of Chicago.)

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail of the drawer construction of the chest of drawers illustrated in fig. 41. (Photo, Art Institute of Chicago.)

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Detail of the base construction and inscriptions on the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 24. (Photo, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Desk-and-bookcase attributed to John Cogswell with figures attributed to the Skillin shop, Boston, 1780–1785. Mahogany with white pine. H. 95 1/2", W. 37 5/16", D. 20". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, acc. 56.23.)

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Desk-and-bookcase attributed to John Cogswell with carving possibly by William Burbeck, Boston, 1780–1785. Mahogany with white pine. H. 82 1/16", W. 37 1/4", D. 20 9/16". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum, acc. 57.1396.)

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    Detail of the writing compartment of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Detail of the upper case of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Detail of the carving at the top of the door and on the ogee head of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Detail of the carving on the lower rail of the door of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 25. (Photo, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30
    Design for a “Writing Table & Bookcase” illustrated on pl. 44 in the Society of Upholsterer’s Houshold Furniture in Genteel Taste, for the Year 1763 (London, 1763). (Courtesy, Cary Collection, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island.)
  • Figure 31
    Figure 31
    Detail of a design for a “Chimney Glass” illustrated on pl. 54 in the Society of Upholsterer’s Houshold Furniture in Genteel Taste, for the Year 1763 (London, 1763). (Courtesy, Cary Collection, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island.)
  • Figure 32
    Figure 32
    Designs for “Shelves for Books &c” illustrated on pl. 67 in the Society of Upholsterer’s Houshold Furniture in Genteel Taste, for the Year 1763 (London, 1763). (Courtesy, Cary Collection, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island.)
  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Chest of drawers attributed to the shop of John Cogswell, Boston, 1780–1795. Mahogany with white pine. H. 30 7/16", W. 35 7/8", D. 20". (Courtesy, Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, acc. 69.103; photo, Will Brown.)

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    Detail of the hardware on the chest illustrated in fig. 33. The brasses were regilded in 1989. (Photo, Will Brown.)

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Brass patterns illustrated on pl. 32 of Brass Founders Catalog of Accessories for Cabinet-makers and Upholsterers, England, 1770s. For the brass of fig. 33, the backplate is derived from no. 568 and the handle from no. 533. (Courtesy, Winterthur Library: Printed Book and Periodical Collection.)

  • Figure 36
    Figure 36

    Chest of drawers attributed to the shop of John Cogswell, Boston, 1780–1795. Mahogany with white pine. H. 31 1/2", W. 35 3/4", D. 20 1/4". (The Dietrich American Foundation on loan to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, acc. L.1980.29; photo, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.) 
     

  • Figure 37
    Figure 37

    Detail of a brass on the chest illustrated in fig. 36. (Courtesy, Dietrich American Foundation; photo, Will Brown.)

  • Figure 38
    Figure 38

    Detail of the case and left front foot of the chest illustrated in fig. 36. (Courtesy, Dietrich American Foundation; photo, Will Brown.)

  • Figure 39
    Figure 39
    Detail of the side of the chest illustrated in fig. 36. (Courtesy of Sack Heritage Group) www.sackheritagegroup.com
  • Figure 40
    Figure 40

    Chest of drawers attributed to the shop of John Cogswell, Boston, 1780–1795. Mahogany with white pine. H. 31 1/4", W. 36 1/8", D. 20 1/4". The chinoiserie hardware is replaced based on scars left from the originals. (Private collection; photo, Richard Cheek.)

  • Figure 41
    Figure 41

    Chest of drawers attributed to the shop of John Cogswell, Boston, 1780–1795. Mahogany with white pine. H. 31 3/8", W. 36 1/8", D. 20". This chest is the only one of the group that survives with remnants of the original finish. (Courtesy, Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Bowen Blair Fund, acc. 1979.499, photo copyright 1992. All rights reserved, ©The Art Institute of Chicago.)    

  • Figure 42
    Figure 42

    Detail of the foot of the chest illustrated in fig. 41. (Photo, Art Institute of Chicago.)

  • Figure 43
    Figure 43

    Chest of drawers attributed to the shop of John Cogswell, Boston, 1783-1795. Mahogany with white pine. H. 30 1/4", W. 35 3/4", D. 21". (Private collection; photo, David Bohl.)