Dressing Table Restoration Part 4, Legs

rear legThe surviving rear leg on the dressing table was used as a model for shaping and carving two new front legs and one new rear leg. While only the sides of the rear legs had carving on the knees, the carving on the front legs wrapped around the knee completing the bilateral design. The matching high chest base, known only from a magazine advertisement, was one source of information confirming the appearance of the original front legs of the dressing table.High chest base Equally important was the opportunity to examine  a pair of chairs in the collection of the Winterthur Museum that had entered that collection in 1957 with a tradition of ownership by Charles Carroll of Baltimore, Maryland. These chairs, and several others of the set in private collections, were most likely the chairs designed and made en suite with the dressing table and high chest base. If the Carroll provenance associated with the chairs holds up to future research, it would infer Carroll family ownership of the matching high chest and dressing table. One chair of this pair at Winterthur bears the same version of Thomas Tufft’s label pasted into drawers of the high chest and dressing table at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (see Charles F. Hummel. A Winterthur Guide to American Chippendale Furniture, Middle Atlantic and Southern Colonies, Winterthur, 1976, pgs. 66-67, figs. 58, 58a.)

side chair

Side chair
Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania c. 1775
Made by Thomas Tufft

As mentioned in the first post on the restoration of the dressing table, the all the original knee returns survived the loss of the legs. The shaping of the new legs had to harmonize with the flow of the existing knee returns. This is one of the constant challenges of restoration, creating the appearance of a smooth transition across new and old elements without manipulation of or damage to the original surfaces.

new legs

The new legs installed on the dressing table before
matching wear patterns of the original surfaces, coloring, and finish work.

new legs, after treatment

The legs after finish treatment to match the
surviving layered finish of dressing table.


A detail of the top of the new leg with its inset corner column.
The finish on the upper rail and moulding under the top board was
present on the dressing table before the restoration.

3 thoughts on “Dressing Table Restoration Part 4, Legs

  1. Pingback: Dressing Table Resurfaces | In Proportion to the Trouble

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