A PAIR OF HIGHLY UNUSUAL KNIFE ORBS

June 16 2009, 1:05pm

The present pair of knife boxes belong to a tradition of decorative cutlery cases made in the late Federal period. Before silver drawers were incorporated into sideboards, knife boxes were meant to sit atop staple dining room furniture singularly or in pairs. These cases were chiefly made of mahogany, which became the favorite primary wood used in furniture after its introduction in the colonies. Although no overtly similar pieces have been located, making comparative interpretation problematic, the overall design, certain decorative elements, and acquisition history in Baltimore (along with a pair of card tables which are most certainly of Baltimore origin), suggest the origin of the knife boxes. Furthermore, the secondary woods of poplar and white pine, although not exclusionary, support the attribution.