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Corner washstand

Odessa, Delaware



Probably Janvier shop


39-1/2 in x 26 in x 17-3/4 in


Mahogany; white pine (secondary wood)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, The David Wilson Mansion, Inc.

Accession Number


Condition Notes

Small holes for soap dishes cut into the top shelf at each side of the large hole in the center have been plugged with mahogany.


Ex coll. Mrs. E. Tatnall (Mary Corbit) Warner


This washstand, intended to be placed in a corner, has a large circular hole in the upper shelf intended to hold a ceramic, porcelain, or metal wash bowl or basin.  The shelf below provides room for a water pitcher.  Holes for two small soap dishes at either corner of the upper shelf have been plugged at a later date.  The single working drawer in the center of the lower shelf frame has sham drawers at each side.  The brasses have been replaced.  The curved frame is made of three layers of wood glued, or laminated, to the desired shape. This construction is stronger than a single board of equal thickness.  It was occasionally used in rounded card tables made in New York City in the same time period.  The front of the drawer, made similarly, has a slightly shallower curve, but appears to be the original drawer.

The quality of mahogany is excellent in front. Lesser grades are used in the rails that face the walls.  Of interest, the small glue blocks reinforcing the attachment of the shelves to the frame are made of mahogany.  Almost always, they are made of lesser grades of wood.

Attribution to the Janvier shop is based on the provenance of this washstand and on its materials and construction.  Although not specified in any written records, the washstand seems to have accompanied much other Corbit and Wilson family furniture and was likely acquired locally.  The laminated construction of the curved front rail has, to date, not been identified outside of New York card table use.  The Janvier family were capable of such innovation.  Also, the little detail of mahogany glue blocks has been observed in Janvier furniture, notably chairs made for William Corbit (accession nos. 1976.114.1-.3).