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Henry Clay Rosedown Armoire

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Henry Clay Rosedown Armoire

- Item No.

This monumental Gothic Revival armoire was commissioned by Henry Clay supporters in 1844

Key Features

  • Known as the Henry Clay Rosedown Plantation Armoire, this piece was intended for the White House
  • Made by Crawford Riddell, this was commissioned by the supporters of Henry Clay for U.S. President
  • When Clay lost, cotton tycoon Daniel Turnbull bought this for his majestic home, Rosedown Plantation
  • To accomodate this armoire and its accompanying bedroom suite, Turnbull built a new wing on his home
  • Circa 1844
  • 91 1/4 wide x 32 3/4 deep x 112 high

Item Details

  • Width:
    91 1/4 Inches
  • Height:
    112 Inches
  • Depth:
    32 3/4 Inches
  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
An extremely rare and monumental Gothic Revival Rosewood "winged" armoire known as the Henry Clay Rosedown Plantation Armoire. This magnificent armoire was originally made by Crawford Riddell of Philadelphia for the White House (more specifically for the bedroom now known as the Lincoln Bedroom), and commissioned by the supporters of Henry Clay during his bid for the Presidency in 1844. Though he fully expected to win the highly contested race, Clay lost the election to Democratic candidate James K. Polk. Indeed, Clay's prospects for the top seat were so strong, that Riddell, having received what was likely the most important commission of the 19th century, had gathered the finest cabinetmakers in the Northeast to assist him in the manufacture of the set, including this armoire, to ensure it would be ready for Clay's seemingly imminent inauguration.

After the votes were tallied, however, and Clay had lost his bid for the presidency, this prized bedroom suite was sold by Clay's supporters to Daniel Turnbull, the most affluent cotton planter in the South and reportedly one of the wealthiest men in America. Turnbull's renowned showpiece home, Rosedown Plantation, was certainly befitting a set of furniture originally intended for the White House. He purchased the set and in true Turnbull fashion, built a wing onto this mansion in St. Francisville, Louisiana, especially to house his glorious bedroom suite. The new wing was so monumental, Turnbull added another wing to the opposite side of the house in order to preserve its classic symmetry! The entire set, including this glorious armoire, was moved into Turnbull's specially built bedroom in 1845 where it remained until 2000 when the State of Louisiana purchased the Rosedown Plantation. We were fortunate and delighted to acquire this magnificent armoire shortly after the purchase, and, it was not long before this treasure was obtained by one of our clients who also found the armoire irresistable. By a twist of fate, we have had the rare privilege to re-acquire this wonderful piece of American history and we are honored to offer it once more.

Circa 1844

The Rosedown Plantation was sold in 2000 to the State of Louisiana for approximately $5.5 million. The matching bed to this armoire was acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art for $450,000. The small chest of drawers is now on display at the Minneapolis Museum of Fine Arts. The cheval mirror was sold at auction and the two small washstands were kept by the former owner of Rosedown Plantation.

Crafted of absolutely the finest Brazilian rosewood (a species that is now extinct), the armoire is flanked by two gothic columns that open on the sides to hold clothes, hence the reference to a "winged" wardrobe. The center doors open to reveal more storage and an interior chest of drawers. Each section retains its original blue paint on the interior. Even the drawers are beautifully finished in Brazilian rosewood on the interior. The armoire is in overall mint condition. In terms of quality, rarity, provenance, and historical significance, it is arguably the finest and most important armoire to come on the market in many, many years.

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Price: $885,000
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