Sideboard (1815-1830), Baltimore, Maryland (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)


Ronald L. Hurst and Jonathan Prown, Southern Furniture 1680-1830: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1997), esp. 525-529.

Barbara G. Carson, Ambitious Appetites: Dining Behavior, and Patterns of Consumption in Federal Washington (American Institute of Architects Press, 1990).

Gregory Weidman and Jennifer Goldsborough, Classical Maryland, 1815-1845 (Maryland Historical Society, 1993).

Margaret Visser, The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolutions, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners (1991).

Kirk, John T. American Furniture and the British Tradition to 1830. Knopf, 1982.


1. Discuss the rise of the sideboard as a furniture form in the late 18th century. Survey room-by-room probate inventories for the 1775-1810 period. How were dining rooms likely to be furnished? How often were sideboards encountered? How did the rooms of the upper class vary from those of the middle class?

2. Taking what we know about elite dining in the first half of the nineteenth-century, discuss what would have been displayed on the top and contained within. Recreate a typical elite meal and discuss the ritual performance of the dinner by both blacks and whites.

3. Discuss the ways in which this sideboard exemplifies the rise of Baltimore as a furniture-making center. With whom was Baltimore competing?

4. Discuss the sideboard as a by-product of the fascination with the Gothic (architecture, literature, and other forms of cultural production) in the 19th-century South.