Duncan Phyfe – A Master Cabinetmaker in New York

Now on at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an exhibition that pays tribute to the skills and legacy of the Master New York Cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe.

Organized chronologically, the exhibition presents the cabinetmaker’s life and work through drawings, documents, personal possession, and furniture. Portraits of his clients and contemporary depictions of New York City street scenes and domestic interiors provide a glimpse into Phyfe’s milieu.

Cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe was ‘all the rage’ in the early 1800s and this comprehensive exhibition is the first Phyfe retrospective in 90 years.

Phyfe rose to be a master cabinetmaker through his immense talent and career which was  founded on the “superior proportions, balance, symmetry and restraint” of neoclassical furniture. His popularity peaked in the years between 1805 and 1820.

The Shop and Warehouse of Duncan Phyfe, 168–172 Fulton Street, New York City. Formerly attributed to John Rubens Smith (American, London 1775–1849 New York City)

Theodore Alexander’s homage to the genius of Duncan Phyfe is based on an original that likely commemorates the War of 1812 and reproduces the unique cannon motif which was undoubtedly the choice of the patron.

The cannon itself is a true depiction of a contemporary period artillery cannon and is hand carved with brass detailing. It is almost certain that the person who commissioned the table was involved with the War of 1812 in some manner but the inscription to the original is unfortunately indecipherable.

The original sold at auction for $84,000 in New York.

The Independence Table

The Independence Table


The Independence Table is one of the distinctive pieces within Rep-li-ca by Theodore Alexander. Rep-li-ca takes antiques and important designs and celebrates the true original by the sincerest form of flattery – faithful imitations in craft and material. From museum pieces to outstanding designs found at auction, Rep-li-ca pays tribute to these masterpieces in every important detail.

Duncan Phyfe – A Master Cabinetmaker in New York is open until the 6th May 2012.

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