One of the leading 19th century furniture makers, Duncan Phyfe was born in 1768. Duncan’s original spelling was Duncan Fife; he changed his spelling after he moved to New York City on 1792, before which he was a cabinetmaker’s apprentice in Albany at age 16. A Scottish born American designer, Phyfe’s primary design structure revolved around neoclassical design.
Phyfe produced classic individual pieces for furniture with a unique over all structure. Duncan has to his credit various styles of furniture, some of which are the double pedestal banquet tables, reeded leg sofas, window benches, central pedestal drop leaf breakfast tables, and lyre back chairs. Among motifs those credited to his name include the acanthus leave, drapery swags, diagonal cross bars, eagle wings, urn turned posts, water leaf, palm leaf, lion’s foot, dog’s foot, thunderbolts, trumpets, and rosettes. Off all the style he’s well known for, his most preferred choice of style was the lyre. Since 1922, after New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art held an exhibition of his work, the demand for Duncan Phyfe furniture has been on a constant rise. Experts categorize his style as a neoclassical basic that soon blended with French designing, being loyal to English Sheraton Style pattern and yet clearly dictating an Imperial style.