Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mrs. Davis's New York Bedroom Furniture

When Mrs. Davis died in the Majestic Hotel in NYC a group of four pieces of furniture from her room was sent to the First White House under the direction of her daughter, Margaret.

These include first,  a simple walnut bed in which Mrs. Davis died. Second, an oak bureau with two long drawers and two short ones, standing on modified cabriolet legs. Wishbone supports hold the horizontal oval dressing mirror. The mirror has a carved crest and a beveled glass.

The third piece was an oak folding bed of unusual form. The bed fits into a paneled case which looks like a large desk or bureau when closed. This folding bed was used by Winnie Davis, who slept in the room with her mother before her premature death in 1898. (and you thought pullman beds were new!)

The fourth piece is an oak wardrobe with Gothic arches in the doors and a projected molded cornice and bracket feet, made in a style very similar to that of wardrobes of the 1850's. This example however is factory-made and of oak, which places it strongly within the design idiom of the turn of the century.

Another item of great interest in this room is a curved brick from the wall of the well of the FWH where it was originally built on Bibb Street. This well probably dated from the first construction by William Sayre in the 1830's and the brick in it was made by slaves.

More about the rooms in the First White House in my next blog. Come see us!

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