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Duncan Phyfe Furniture

A New York cabinetmaker, Duncan Phyfe (1795-1856) made fashionable furniture for the carriage trade of his day. His finest work was done from 1800 to 1820. Phyfe made much furniture, but not nearly as much as has been attributed to him. No one man could have possibly made that much.

There is no actual "Duncan Phyfe" in itself, although his fine interpretations of what was currently popular gave rise to the erroneous calling of all furniture done in those styles by his name.

The styles he did make were late Sheraton and Directoire. There was so much similarity and overlapping of styles during that time that it is simpler and less confusing to class these various designs together and call them Early Empire, as is often done.

A fine cabinetmaker, Phyfe's well-constructed, tastefully executed furniture declined in artistry as the later Empire styles became fashionable. His earlier pieces in Sheraton and Directoire styles were in much better taste.

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