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Andrew Brunk
Benjamin Randolph Revisited

American Furniture 2007

Full Article
Contents
  • Figure 1
    Figure 1

    Charles Willson Peale, Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1775–1780. Watercolor on ivory. 1 1/4" x 1". (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Johnes Westbrook, 1990.)

  • Figure 2
    Figure 2

    Page 3 from Benjamin Randolph’s account book. (Courtesy, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.)

  • Figure 3
    Figure 3

    Page 35 from Benjamin Randolph’s account book. (Courtesy, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.)

  • Figure 4
    Figure 4

    Page 43 from Benjamin Randolph’s account book. (Courtesy, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.)

  • Figure 5
    Figure 5

    Chimneypiece from the Samuel Powel House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1770. (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 6
    Figure 6

    Detail of the center tablet of the chimneypiece illustrated in fig. 5. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth).

  • Figure 7
    Figure 7

    Chimneypiece from the Thomas Ringgold House, Chestertown, Maryland, ca. 1770. (Courtesy, Baltimore Museum of Art.)

  • Figure 8
    Figure 8

    Detail of the frieze appliqué over a door from the Thomas Ringgold House. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 9
    Figure 9

    Detail of the frieze appliqué on the chimneypiece illustrated in fig. 7. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 10
    Figure 10

    Design for a frieze appliqué illustrated on pl. 2 in Thomas Johnson’s A New Book of Ornaments (1762). (© V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum, London, www.vam.ac.uk.)

  • Figure 11
    Figure 11

    Benjamin Randolph, side chair, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany. H. 38 1/8", W. 23 3/4", D. 19". (Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, M. and M. Karolik Collection, © 2000, all rights reserved.)

  • Figure 12
    Figure 12

    Armchair attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany. H. 37 5/8", W. 24 3/4" (seat), D. 19 3/4" (seat). (Private collection; photo, Joe Kindig Antiques.)

  • Figure 13
    Figure 13

    Detail of the knee carving on the side chair illustrated in fig. 11.

  • Figure 14
    Figure 14

    Detail of the knee carving on the armchair illustrated in fig. 12.

  • Figure 15
    Figure 15

    Tea table attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1775. Mahogany. Dimensions not recorded. (Private collection; photo, Joe Kindig Antiques.)

  • Figure 16
    Figure 16

    Detail of the knee carving on the tea table illustrated in fig. 15. 

  • Figure 17
    Figure 17

    Card table with carving attributed to Hercules Courtenay, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1775. Mahogany with unidentified secondary woods. Dimensions not recorded. (Private collection; photo, Mack Coffey.)

  • Figure 18
    Figure 18

    Detail of the knee carving on the card table illustrated in fig. 17.

  • Figure 19
    Figure 19

    Detail of the right mantle truss of the chimneypiece illustrated in fig. 5. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 20
    Figure 20

    High chest attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1770. Mahogany with poplar, yellow pine, and cedar. H. 89 7/8", W. 46 1/8", D. 23 5/8". (Courtesy, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.)

  • Figure 21
    Figure 21

    Detail of the inscription on the high chest illustrated in fig. 20.

  • Figure 22
    Figure 22

    Detail of the carving on the lower shell drawer of the high chest illustrated in fig. 20.

  • Figure 23
    Figure 23

    Detail of the knee carving on the high chest illustrated in fig. 20.

  • Figure 24
    Figure 24

    Base of a high chest with carving attributed to John Pollard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1775. Mahogany with yellow pine, sweet gum, and white cedar. H. 38", W. 45 5/8", D. 22 13/16". (Courtesy, Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State.)

  • Figure 25
    Figure 25

    Detail of the carving on the center drawer of the high chest base illustrated in fig. 24.

  • Figure 26
    Figure 26

    James Smither, trade card of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1769. Engraving on paper. 7" x 9". (Courtesy, Library Company of Philadelphia.) The desk-and-bookcase at the bottom center was copied from an engraving in Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (see fig. 27). No other contemporary reproduction of that image in Philadelphia is known.

  • Figure 27
    Figure 27

    Design for a desk-and-bookcase illustrated on plate 108 in the third edition of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (1762) This design appeared on pl. 78 in the first (1754) and second (1755) editions.

  • Figure 28
    Figure 28

    Desk-and-bookcase attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1765. Mahogany with yellow pine, white cedar, poplar, and white oak. H. 114 1/4", W. 53 3/4", D. 26 7/8". (Courtesy, Kaufman Americana Collection; photo, Dirk Bakker.) The lower case of this desk-and-bookcase was derived from a design in Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (see fig. 27). The only other Philadelphia case piece with details corresponding to that design is a desk-and-bookcase (see fig. 31) with feet like those on the example shown here. 

  • Figure 29
    Figure 29

    Detail of the carving on the left door adjacent to the lower drawers of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 28. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 30
    Figure 30

    Bill from Benjamin Randolph to George Croghan. (Courtesy, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Cadwalader Collection.)

  • Figure 31
    Figure 31

    Desk-and-bookcase attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph with carving attributed to John Pollard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany with tulip poplar and white cedar. H. 98 1/2", W. 46", D. 25 1/2". (Private collection; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 32
    Figure 32

    Detail of the left front foot of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 28. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 33
    Figure 33

    Detail of the left front foot of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 31. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 34
    Figure 34

    Detail showing the carving on the prospect door and flanking drawers in the writing compartment of the desk-and-bookcase illustrated in fig. 31. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 35
    Figure 35

    Benjamin Randolph, card table, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1775. Mahogany with white oak and poplar. H. 28 3/4", W. 33 1/4", D. 16". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 36
    Figure 36

    Detail of the knee carving on the card table illustrated in fig. 35.

  • Figure 37
    Figure 37

    High chest attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany with poplar, yellow pine, white oak, and white cedar. H. 90 1/4", W. 45 5/8", D. 25 1/2". (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 38
    Figure 38

    Detail of the knee carving on the high chest illustrated in fig. 37.

  • Figure 39
    Figure 39

    Detail of the tympanum appliqué of the high chest illustrated in fig. 37.

  • Figure 40
    Figure 40

    Detail of the garland to the right of the chimneypiece illustrated in fig. 7. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 41
    Figure 41

    Tea table attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1775. Mahogany. H. 29 1/2", diam. of top: 35". (Private collection; photo, Christie’s.) 

  • Figure 42
    Figure 42

    Page 181 from Benjamin Randolph’s account book. (Courtesy, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.)

  • Figure 43
    Figure 43

    Detail of the knee carving on the tea table illustrated in fig. 41.

  • Figure 44
    Figure 44

    Easy chair attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph with carving attributed to John Pollard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1775. Mahogany with white oak. H. 45 1/4", W. 24 3/8", D. 2715/16". (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art, purchased with museum funds, 1929.)

  • Figure 45
    Figure 45

    Sideboard table attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph with carving attributed to John Pollard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1770. Mahogany with yellow pine and walnut. H. 32 3/8", W. 48", D. 23 1/4". (Courtesy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1918 [18.110.27]; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 46
    Figure 46

    Details showing from top to bottom the carving on a side rail of the easy chair illustrated in fig. 44; the side rail of the sideboard table illustrated in fig. 45; and the left frieze appliqué below the mantle of the chimneypiece from the Stamper-Blackwell parlor.

  • Figure 47
    Figure 47

    Design for a pier glass and table illustrated on pl. 152 in the third edition of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (1762). (Courtesy, Winterthur Museum.)

  • Figure 48
    Figure 48

    Side chair, attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1769. Mahogany with white cedar. H. 36 3/4", W. 21 3/4" (seat), D. 17 7/8" (seat). (Chipstone Foundation; photo, Hans Lorenz.)

  • Figure 49
    Figure 49

    Charles Willson Peale, Lambert Cadwalader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1770. 50" x 40". (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art, purchased for the Cadwalader Collection with funds contributed by the Mabel Pew Myrin Trust and the gift of an anonymous donor.)

  • Figure 50
    Figure 50

    Detail of the knee carving on the side chair illustrated in fig. 48.

  • Figure 51
    Figure 51

    Side chair attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1770. Mahogany. H. 37 1/2", W. 24 1/2", D. 21". (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 52
    Figure 52

    Detail of the carving on the left stile of the side chair illustrated in fig. 48.

  • Figure 53
    Figure 53

    Detail of the carving on the left stile of the side chair illustrated in fig. 51. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 54
    Figure 54

    Side chair attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1765–1770. Mahogany with tulip poplar. H. 41 1/2", W. 27", D. 15 1/2". (Courtesy, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; photo, Hans Lorenz.)

  • Figure 55
    Figure 55

    Detail of the knee carving on the side chair illustrated in fig. 54.

  • Figure 56
    Figure 56

    Side chair attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany with unidentified secondary woods. Dimensions not recorded. . (Courtesy, Philadelphia Museum of Art, purchased with the Fiske Kimball Fund, the John T. Morris Fund, and funds contributed by Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, the Richard Chilton Foundation, H. Richard Dietrich Jr., Robert L. McNeil Jr., Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr., Mrs. E. Newbold Smith, Charlene Sussel, Anne H. and Frederick Vogel III, Andrew M. Rouse, and Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Booth, 2003.)

  • Figure 57
    Figure 57

    Detail of the knee carving on the side chair illustrated in fig. 56. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 58
    Figure 58

    Side chair attributed to the shop of Benjamin Randolph with carving attributed to John Pollard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany with white oak. H. 36 3/4", W. (seat) 23", D. (seat) 19 1/8". The feet are restored. (Courtesy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1908 [08.51.10]; photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 59
    Figure 59

    Detail showing the knee carving on the chair illustrated in fig. 58. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 60
    Figure 60

    Detail of the door frieze illustrated in fig. 8. (Photo, Gavin Ashworth.)

  • Figure 61
    Figure 61

    Benjamin Randolph, side chair, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ca. 1770. Mahogany with white cedar. H. 37", W. 22 5/8", D. 19 1/2". (Courtesy, Yale University Art Gallery.) This chair has Randolph’s label on a seat rail.