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Victorian Is Dead In Alexandria, VA

grecian sofa Victorian Is Dead In Alexandria, VA

grecian sofa Victorian Is Dead In Alexandria, VA

I spent a good part of the weekend in Alexandria, VA this weekend with some long-time friends for a certain milestone birthday bash, and on the way to their house my wife and I did some antiquing there near King Street.

I will officially declare Victorian completely dead in Alexandria.  Yes, there are historic Victorian structures there but you wouldn’t know it from the merchandise in the local antique stores.  About the only thing that could whet my Victorian furniture appetite is this decidedly non-Victorian sofa, circa 1820-1830.

The sofa was labeled as attributed to Anthony Quervelle, so being a Quervelle fan I snapped a photo for some research when I returned. The dolphins as the lower feet were exceptionally well-carved and I think the basis for the attribution along with the overall Grecian style form.

There is no better book to hunker down and research the Quervelle attribution than “Philadelphia Empire Furniture” by the Boor family.  The book is almost 2 inches thick and is very inclusive of Quervelle furniture.

I found a similar sofa with identical dolphin feet in a photo in the book which can be found in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Both sources consider it to be likely Philadelphia in origin, but will not give it the Quervelle moniker.  The Magazine Antiques, in March 1974, qualifies the differences with Quervelle work in another similar sofa by saying,

The general lines, arrangement of the ornament, and the details fo the foliage differ from those of the sofas attributed to Quervelle and the dolphin front feet lack the saucy air of Quervelle’s.

Knock $4,000 off of the price…

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3 Comments
  • james conrad - September 22, 2008

    LOL @ knock $4000. off the price. ok, what was king street selling besides the sofa, container goods from europe or american empire/classical?

  • RareVictorian - September 22, 2008

    James, they were selling all < 1830 furniture; a good bit of it French. I probably went into 8 stores. I think one of the owners nearly lost his breakfast as he scoffed when I asked if he had Victorian.

  • Classical Jim - September 22, 2008

    That was not always the case. Like anything else, interest in furniture styles come and go. Twenty years ago, I found lots of victorian furniture in the DC/Alexandria area. Classical furniture was not very popular. I bought classical furniture at Wechslers for a song.

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