null
Advanced Search

Secretary Bookcase

On view

Secretary Bookcase

Artist: Anthony Gabriel Quervelle (French, 1789-1856; active Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1820-1856)

Date: 1825-1835
Medium: Mahogany, eastern white pine, basswood, yellow-poplar, bird's eye maple, glass, brass, and gilded gesso
Dimensions:
Overall: 102 1/4 x 50 3/4 x 23 5/8in. (259.7 x 128.9 x 60cm)
Signed: 2 engraved paper labels inside two drawers: "126 / ANTHONY G. QUERVELLE'S / CABINET AND SOFA MANUFACTORY, / SOUTH SECOND STREET A FEW DOORS BELOW DOCK, / PHILADELPHIA."
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 60.257
Label Text
The imposing dimensions, rich surface ornamentation, the maker's fine crafting of this secretary bookcase reflect the influence of French taste and style on Philadelphia cabinetmakers and their patrons during the late classical period of the 1830s. Anthony Quervelle, maker of this example, arrived in Philadelphia from France about 1817 and enjoyed a long and prosperous career as one of the city's leading cabinetmakers.

The secretary bookcase exhibits characteristics associated with the Empire style-massive architectural proportions and overall form; carved, hairy paw feet; and veneered surfaces. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Quervelle's work (seen here on the base of the secretary bookcase and also in the sketch) is the integration of the fan shape, comprising multiple convex elements veneered with richly grained mahogany, into the design.

Sketch, attributed to the workshop of Anthony Quervelle, ca. 1820-35.
Pen, pencil, and ink on laid paper. Collection of Philadelphia Museum of Art.