Masterpieces of American Furniture at Winterthur

Winterthur’s American furniture collection is the largest and arguably the finest in the country.

Henry Francis du Pont’s furniture collecting began in the early 1920s.

The Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur. Henry Francis du Pont acquired some of the choicest Philadelphia furniture dating from the 1730s to the 1770s.

The Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur.

The Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur.

18th Century hand-painted wallpaper.

A superb 18th century American longcase clock at Winterthur.

A splendid chest-on-chest at Winterthur.

One of a set of Chinese Chippendale chairs shown against the original late 18th century Chinese-export wallpaper in the Chinese parlor at Winterthur.

The Chinese parlor at Winterthur is mounted with the original 18th century Chinese-export wallpaper, circa 1775-1800, and features a splendid array of immensely important American furniture

A most unusual 'Turret Top' tea table, Boston, c. 1750.

A superb Philadelphia chair at The Port Royal Parlor.

Du Pont developed a passion for high-style Philadelphia rococo furniture, setting a record in 1929 when he paid $44,000 for the Turner-Van Pelt family high chest (above). Made for William and Mary Turner (circa 1765 and 1780) and descended by inheritance into the Van Pelt family. It was acquired by Henry Francis du Pont in 1929 and is now displayed in the Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur. In his book American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (New York, 1952), Joseph Downs celebrates this high chest as the “highest development of the Philadelphia Chippendale school of furniture” for its outstanding qualities of design and carving.

The Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur.

The Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur.

Thomas Chippendale design realisation by Philadelphia cabinet makers and carvers.

Exceptional & bold carving is a signature feature of the best Philadelphia craftsmen.

Exceptional & bold carving is a signature feature of the best Philadelphia craftsmen.

The Port Royal Parlor at Winterthur.

There has long been speculation about whether this chair is American. It seems quite likely that this armchair at Winterthur is English.

Wonderful carving on an American late 18th century high chest

An extraordinary demi-lune chairback settee at Winterthur, circa 1790

The elliptical staircase and John & Thomas Seymour furniture at Winterthur.

American Empire open armchair in mahogany, at Winterthur Musem.

Rare American Federal Klismos side chair (one of a pair) at Winterthur. Attributed to John and Hugh Finlay, Baltimore, Maryland, 1810-1815.

John & Thomas Seymour furniture at Winterthur.

Text credit: winterthur.org & Peacock's Finest

Photo credit: Peacock's Finest

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