Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Lowboy

A lowboy resembles the base of a highboy; the 2 forms were often made in matching sets.


William and Mary style
The first American lowboys date from the William and Mary period, and it seems probable that, like dressing tables, they were meant to provide a place where toiletries could be stored and applied.

William and Mary examples have one to four drawers and a valanced skirt, and rest on trumpet-turned legs that are braced by flat, scrolled X-stretchers or box stretchers.

William and Mary examples have 1 to 4 drawers and a valanced skirt, and rest on trumpet-turned legs that are braced by flat, scrolled X-stretchers or box stretchers.


Queen Anne
By the Queen Anne period, graceful cabriole legs supported the weight of the table. Like the highboys of the period, these Queen Anne lowboys have restrained decoration, typically consisting of simple carving; occasionally the skirt is embellished with drops.

Portable dressing mirrors were probably placed on top of the lowboy.


Chippendale
Chippendale examples are more lavishly decorated, with intricate carving and bold claw-and-ball feet.

Portable dressing mirrors were probably placed on top of the lowboy.

By the beginning of the Federal period, what has come to be called the dressing table took the place of the lowboy.

In both the Queen Anne and the Chippendale periods, portable dressing mirrors were probably placed on top of the lowboy.


Federal style
Highboys and lowboys were seldom made after about 1775 and their place was mainly taken by the low chests of drawers, or bureaus, and by dressing tables respectively.


Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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