Sometimes conservators get to put their detective hat on when they come across an object that challenges their assumptions. Even when a first glance leads them to make assumptions about the origin or age of a piece, occasionally a deeper look leads them down a rabbit trail of puzzling clues.
UK-based furniture restorer, Timothy Garland, has been on such a rabbit trail for a number of years now. When an unusual high posted bed came to his attention, he was intrigued to dig deep to make sense of the evidence before his eyes. Although the bed had been previously described as severely messed with over time and was of probable English origin, Garland began to suspect the evidence pointed in a different direction. Thus began years of research tracing wood identification, finish identification, construction details, design motifs, etc.
After many years of careful consideration, Garland has come to the conclusion that this bed could confidently be attributed to the hand of a mid to late 18th century Philadelphia furniture maker. Even further, Garland believes that the owner was likely none other than the famous John Cadwalader, general in the American Revolutionary War.
This research deserves to be published. Tim has done his homework and created a compelling case that we all need to hear. This article will put you in the driver’s seat to explore along with him the piece by piece evidence that makes this a case that cannot be ignored.
I’m proud to have this in M&T Issue Two.