This sideboard (larger image on top) was made by Henry Clay’s brother Porter Clay. Sideboards were used to put out food or drink to be served in the dining room and to store silverware and dishes. Henry Clay’s brother made furniture in downtown Lexington from about 1800-1815 and made this piece in about 1805. It is a very fine, high quality piece showing how good furniture was made in early 19th century Lexington.
For Mack from Madison County, who contributed this artifact, this piece represents his family’s tradition of collecting and appreciating fine Kentucky antiques. Henry Clay owned many pieces made by his brother, though none are at Ashland today. We paired Mack’s Porter Clay sideboard with the sideboard which sits in the dining room. It belonged to Henry Clay’s great-granddaughter who got it from the Breckinridge family, her brother-in-law’s family. It was made in about 1835 and is of a very different style than Porter’s sideboard.
Mahogany veneer Gothic Revival Sideboard c. 1835. To view the sideboard in the online collection, click here.