|Biography from The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia:|
|Born in Dublin, Joseph Barry trained there and in London as a skilled
cabinetmaker. About 1794 he arrived in Philadelphia, where there
existed a promising market for an ambitious furniture craftsman.
(1) Barry appears first in the Philadelphia directory in 1794 as
a partner with Alexander Calder, and by 1797, he is using his own name
at a shop on South Second Street, a business that was maintained until
1833. (2) |
In 1812 Barry advertised that he both made and has in his "ware-rooms a
variety of the newest and most fashionable Cabinet Furniture, superbly
finished in the rich Egyptian and Gothic style, which [he] will dispose
of on the most reasonable terms."
Indeed, with an established reputation and clientele by that date,
Barry provided Philadelphia’s elite with the most current examples of
(1) Donald L. Fennimore and Robert T. Trump, “Joseph B. Barry, Philadelphia cabinet maker,” Magazine Antiques, CXXXXV (May 1989), 1214, pls. II and III.
Also, see Robert T. Trump, “Joseph B. Barry, Philadelphia Cabinetmaker,” Magazine Antiques, CVII (January 1975).
(2). According to Ethel Bjerkoe (The Cabinet Makers of America
(Exton, PA: Shiffer Limited, 1973), p. 38), Barry left
Philadelphia briefly to escape a Yellow Fever epidemic and is listed as
having a shop in Savannah on Commerce Row that he advertises in October
1798. By November of that same year, he announces that he is
returning to Philadelphia. From this, we can infer that he did
not close his shop on South Second Street during this southern
sojourn. Very likely Barry was more interested in developing a
new clientele from a prosperous Southern city than fleeing a possible
Submitted by Philip D. Zimmerman and Charles T. Butler, Columbus Museum
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