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1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book. Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art. Facsimile now available.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Available April 2005
For information call 215.684.7860
or visit www.philamuseum.org

Colonial Philadelphia’s furniture trade is illuminated in this facsimile of the only surviving printed copy of the 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book. Here are provided the parts and costs of furniture forms, as well as the lexicon of terms used by journeymen and master craftsmen of the time. The 36-page original (and the facsimile) is a complete version of the price book, covering more information than is provided in the two known surviving manuscript copies (at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the Tyler Arboretum). The original printed book is inscribed with the name Joseph Delavau, probably the owner, along with an order for a fire screen for “Mr. Catwalater.” This screen was no doubt one of the six surviving from the parlor of John and Elizabeth Cadwalader, of which the museum owns one. Though the original is thought to have had a very small press run, it was so successful in its organization and price structuring that it served as a model for price books published in Connecticut, New York, and London. The facsimile edition is printed on the same quarto-size (3 3/4 x 6 1/8 inches) as the original.

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