The emergence of a distinct American style can be traced through the Furniture Collection’s 600 examples of American, English, French, Asian, and German furniture. Ranging from the 17th-century Baroque to the Colonial Revival in the early 20th century, it encompasses a range of forms, primary and secondary woods, and surface ornament, such as turning, carving, veneering, and painted decoration. Situated within an architectural setting defined by neoclassical ornamentation, the collection creates a rich context for understanding the transformation and diversification of American interiors.
The collection includes several early 19th-century pieces associated with Martha and Thomas Peter, Tudor Place’s builders, and their five surviving children. Painted “Fancy” chairs, ladies’ and men’s desks, card tables, and work tables feature styles and attributes associated with local cabinetmakers in Georgetown, the Federal City, and Alexandria. Elsewhere in the collection, the austere style and bold curves of Grecian fashion appear in a group of American parlor tables, pier tables, and a ca. 1830 bedstead. French and English examples offer important counterpoints to the collection’s American pieces, notably a secrétaire abattant and matching chest of drawers.
A small group of furniture made or repaired by Georgetown cabinetmaker Maximilian F. Rosinski (1869–1962), a Polish immigrant, illustrates influences of the 18th-century Colonial Revival. The collection includes a rare example of a wicker invalid chair from the 1890s, used by the estate’s second owner, Britannia Peter Kennon.