Like most regions in the American Colonies, Delaware had its own cabinetmakers. Today several museums in the state display examples of furniture produced in Delaware and occasionally new pieces surface at antique shows.
Gary Manlove, owner of Manlove’s Choice Antiques in Greenwood, Delaware has spent time in local museums studying Delaware cabinetmakers and even had the benefit of seeing a piece by a cabinetmaker named James McDowell disassembled.
“I’ve worked on a couple of McDowell’s pieces, and put one back together,” Manlove explains. “The opportunity provided real insight into how he worked. That insight can help in identifying other pieces.
“You also can tell a McDowell piece by its style,” Manlove adds. “He incorporated sheared corners, line inlay and often French-style feet.”
James McDowell established his business in Duck Creek (now Symerna) in 1785. He died in 1838. One example is a sideboard signed by McDowell first on display at the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts (Delaware Art Museum) in 1950.
Manlove has also spent time at the Reed House in New Castle, part of the Delaware Historical Society and the Biggs Museum in Dover, Delaware studying other examples of work by Delaware cabinetmakers.
Other prominent Delaware cabinetmakers include John JanVier and Thomas Stevenson, who worked with McDowell before relocating to Dover.
“JanVier was the foremost Cabinetmaker in Delaware,” Manlove says. “He built clock cases, chests and chairs.”
Manlove will be one of the dealers displaying at the All Saints’ Antiques Show in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware July 29-August 1, 2009 at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.
Tickets to the July 29 preview party (6 p.m.- 8 p.m.) are $30, which offers unlimited attendance over the three-day show. The show will be open to the public from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, July 30 and Friday, July 31 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, August 1. Admission is $7. More information is available at www.rehobothantiques.com.