A high torchère on a tripod of which the legs end in claws. The legs are carved with acanthus motives. The shape of the table top is commonly known as ‘pie-crust’ shape.
This torchère is manufactured near Newport (Rhode Island) or possibly somewhat more to the south of Massachusetts. Typical for the American Chippendale style (app. 1755-1780) are the explicit regional characteristics of the furniture.
In Newport mainly Cuban Mahogany was used for the fabrication of furniture, that was delicately carved or torsioned. The decoration of the knees with Acanthus or Palmette motives is fairly common. Most distinguished feature of the furniture originating from Newport and its direct vicinity is the shape of the ball under the claws that decorate the ends of the legs. These balls or seldom round but mostly oval shaped and more or less flatened. The shape of the torsioned node in the stem however resembles the style commonly seen in Massachusetts in this period and is seldom seen in Newport.
Torchères have been in use since the early 17th century and were originally designed to support candlesticks. The traditional shape, with its long stem and tripod, that did not change through the years, made regional variances in decoration and shape – at least in North America – very much in demand.
Joseph T. Butler & Ray Skibinski, Field Guide to American Antique Furniture, New York 1985.
Jeffrey P. Greene, American Furniture of the 18th Century, Newton CT, 1996.