Brunk Auctions
Live Auction

Collection of Jean and Jim Barrow | May 20, 2023

Sat, May 20, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 113

A Masterpiece Boston Federal Inlaid Mahogany Sofa

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$100 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $200
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

attributed to the John and Thomas Seymour Shop, possibly with John Cogswell, 1805-1812, with bowed crest rail, cross banding and lunette
inlay with geometric borders, serpentine arms with unusual finely scrolled volutes at top and terminating in double volutes, finely inlaid skirt and
rare incurvate inlaid legs, on casters, fully developed sides, fine upholstery, 37 x 78 x 25 in.

Notes: This sofa ranks among the very finest to survive from Federal/Classical Boston, and there are few precedents for this exceptional, fully developed form. A card table with related cyma shaped legs with ebonized panels is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. See Randall, American Furniture in the MFA, no. 105. A sofa with related leg design is in the collections of the Winterthur Museum (see Montgomery, catalog no. 37). In discussing this sofa in The Furniture Masterworks of John and Thomas Seymour, Mussey notes that “Few pieces of Boston Furniture represent such an original excursion into Regency design.”

Literature: Listed as a “Masterpiece” by Albert Sack in The New Fine Points of Furniture, page 254.
Also illustrated in Israel Sack, Inc’s 90th Anniversary Catalog, page 72.
Illustrated and discussed in Mussey, The Furniture Masterworks of John and Thomas Seymour, catalog no. 140.


The sofa has good integrity and survives in good condition overall. There are expected breaks and repairs to the large volutes at the corners of the crest, and some repairs to the front leg attachments. The skirt veneers have some typical patches and repairs consistent with age and use. The frame was not examined under the upholstery but the sofa is accompanied by Israel Sack photos showing the frame without upholstery, and it appears to be in fine condition.

Israel Sack, Inc.;
Collection of Jean and Jim Barrow