ACTIVE AGE | The buffet must be examined in person by an expert


The man referred to by the reader is Joseph B. Barry (1757-1838), who worked at 148 S. Third St. in Philadelphia. For a while he worked with his son, Joseph, and there is also a note that we found that he may have had another partner at the end of his career.

Barry was born in Dublin, but trained for his trade in London, then immigrated to the United States, where he settled in Philadelphia. Barry is believed to have come to Philadelphia around 1790, but when the yellow fever epidemic of October 1793 hit the city, he fled the stricken city with the federal government, which was located in Philadelphia at the time.

The city of Philadelphia government reportedly collapsed, and ultimately 5,000 of its citizens died, nearly 10% of the city’s total population. Barry ended up in Savannah, Georgia, where he made furniture until his return to Philadelphia in 1798. Barry partnered with his son Joseph, and they are considered to be the foremost ranks of American furniture makers. of the late 18th and early 19th century working in the Federal style as well as the American Classic and Gothic styles.

It is also said that Barry made the most beautiful American furniture in the Boulle fashion, which consists of inlaying tortoise, brass and sometimes silver or pewter. It is a type of cabinet named after the French cabinetmaker André-Charles Boule (1642-1732), who worked as a master cabinetmaker for King Louis XIV of France.

When Thomas Jefferson was the Second Vice President of the United States – in office from 1797 to 1801 – he was headquartered in Philadelphia. Records show that Jefferson was a client of Joseph Barry & Amp; Son. It is believed that after Jefferson was elected president in 1800, he may have taken some of Barry’s furniture with him to the new White House in Washington, DC.

Note that Barry also produced furniture in Baltimore. We wish we had better photos of the coin and would like to know how it is signed. We’ve seen references to a Barry paper label, and we’ve also seen his signature (Jos. B. Barry) in pencil on bare wood, but we have no idea what’s on the piece. in today’s question.

We are concerned because a piece very similar to this was once attributed to Joseph B. Barry or William Camp, but is now believed to have been made in Baltimore by Edward Priestley (1778-1837). This is important because the asking price for the buffet from the almost identical American Classic period circa 1810-1815 and awarded to Priestly was $ 95,000! But to be certain of attribution and monetary value, the piece really needs to be seen in person by an American furniture specialist.

(Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques. Do you have something you would like to know more about? Contact them at Joe Rosson, 2504 Seymour Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917, or email email them to [email protected] If you would like your question addressed in their column, please include a high resolution photo of the subject, which should be sharp, with your request.)

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