Halsey Munson Americana
204 North Summit Avenue
Decatur, Illinois 62522
All rights reserved.
Although superb furniture has been created in every age—including the 20th C.—we specialize in 17th, 18th and 19th C. American country. Our emphasis is on period examples whose form and proportion is enhanced by original or early surface, such as antique painted chests, apothecaries and Windsor chairs, tavern and hutch tables with honest scrub tops, Queen Anne seating from New York, Pennsylvania and New England and early mirrors with original glass.
18th C. Octagonal Hutch Table
Ca. 1780-1800 Connecticut River Valley shoe foot hutch table with octagonal thumb molded top. The base is maple, the quadruple pinned stepped shoe feet are oak with chip carving, the three-board top is pine. The finger-notched hutch compartment lid slides in tracks cut into the table sides. The top is 45” x 37” and the table height is 27 ½”. Found in Massachusetts.
Early 19th C. Nantucket
Charles Carpenter in The Decorative Arts and Crafts of Nantucket catalogued a small group of candlestands in a form he identified as having been made on Nantucket in the first decade of the 1800s: A shaped square top with bowed edges and outset, pointed corners, an urn-turned standard above a bulging, donut-shaped ring supported by high lift legs….But where most Nantucket candlestands are yellow birch with two-board tops, this stand is maple with a one-board top, and the latching mechanism for the tilt top is a simple wooden rotating catch. Perhaps the most interesting distinction is that this stand is in early, perhaps original, grain paint instead of the typical finished surface. 18¾” x 19” x 28” high. A unique and elegant Massachusetts candlestand.
Painted 1725 New York Great Chair
A very special early 18th C. Hudson River Valley 4-back Great Chair with dramatic serpentine flat-carved arms terminating in wide downturned grips. Deeply turned ring and sausage front and back posts, shaped slats, turned double ball single front stretcher with arrow terminals, worn black paint, original feet, almost full height (45½”), with no repairs or restoration at all. The label from an early New York collection is on the underside of the left arm. The rush seat is a 20th C. replacement.
New England Sawbuck Table
All-original ca. 1820-1830 New England sawbuck table. Its unaltered condition, with a one-board top, original and unmoved cleats, dovetailed stretchers, and untouched salmon paint, make it a truly remarkable survivor. 45”L x 23½’W x 28”H.
18th C. Wm. & Mary Lighting Stand maple with a 12” lipped rotating table surface that adjusts by revolving up and down a threaded shaft, which sockets into a molded circular 7” base supported not by the customary three but by four deeply turned legs. Original red paint covered by an ancient varnish oxidized almost black. It is popularly believed that all such stands included a rotating arm that held a pair of candles for illumination. Unfortunately, like many other bits of popular knowledge, this too is wrong. A simple experiment involving an adjustable candle arm and a mug of beer makes it immediately obvious that only screw thread candle stands in the 36”-44” range could handle both. At 32” tall, a light stand like this one was intended as a platform for a candle stick or rushlight—or perhaps a tankard of ale. From a Washington, DC collection. Purchased in New Hampshire in 1982 from Bert and Gail Savage. $2,100
Octagonal Topped New York Candlestand
Ca. 1770-1800 snake leg maple candlestand with an octagonal tiger maple scrubbed top. Both the pillar, with deep ball and reel turnings, and the legs in a thin red wash. The edges of the one-board tiger top are chamfered to reduce apparent thickness while retaining full strength. The top of the pillar tenons through the chamfered oak cleat and the cleat is secured to the top with roseheads. Seven rosehead nails also fix the iron spider to the underside of the pillar and legs. At some point in the mid-1800s a stress crack developed at the base of the pillar and was tightened with square nails. The top has two very early Dutchmen and has been snugged to the cleat with a rosehead driven down from above. Top 17½”; height 25”. Probably New York State or Western Massachusetts.
American Made Courting Mirror
This is one of the only American-made courting mirrors I've ever owned. Virtually all the pieces that make up this category were imported from Northern Europe (Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, etc.) between 1770 and 1840. Nothing wrong with them. Many are quite elegant. But the premium in the finest collections of Americana has always been on acquiring native-made examples, whenever possible. This looking glass shows all the hallmarks of an American origin and my speculation is that it was made somewhere along the shoreline in New Hampshire between 1780 and 1800. Continental courting glasses, unless cushion-framed in mahogany veneer, are usually made from sylvestris pine, which is not an American strain. This looking glass is American white pine. Distinctively American, and wholly absent from imported courting mirrors, is that pair of pinwheel-carved blocks at the shoulders of the crest. American-made courting mirrors are seldom seen. 16½”H x 14”W and the glass is very likely the original mirror plate. Ca. 1790-1820. Ex-David Good.
Ca. 1840 Painted & Scalloped Shelves
Mid 19th C. set of triangular hanging shelves, dovetailed construction, with scalloped galleries and molded edges. Good jack plane marks and square nails with some 20th C. helpers. Paint is probably late 19th C. green with red striping over the original blue. Scalloping is in amazingly good condition. 22”H x 23”W.