Grecian couch

about 1820
Attributed to Hugh Finlay (American (born in Ireland), 1781–1831)

Object Place: Baltimore, Maryland


90.8 x 232.4 x 61.6 cm (35 3/4 x 91 1/2 x 24 1/4 in. )

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Yellow-poplar, cherry, white pine; rosewood graining and gilded painting; partial original foundation and new foundation materials, cover, and trim

On View

Kristin and Roger Servison Gallery (Gallery 133)




Seating and beds

The brothers John and Hugh Finlay first advertised their wares in the Baltimore Federal Gazette of January 25, 1803. For nearly the next four decades, sometimes working together and sometimes singly, they provided the citizens of that growing and thriving city with such high-style painted furniture as this Grecian couch. At one time, their shop employed as many as sixty-eight craftsmen, including thirty men, thirteen boys, and twenty-five women. They remained current with the changing modes of Neoclassicism; Hugh Finlay, to whom this couch is attributed, even traveled for several months of 1810 in Europe, where he acquired “a number of Drawings, from furniture in the first houses in Paris and London” that he shipped back to his Baltimore shop to use as sources of inspiration for customers seeking “the most approved articles” of furniture.

This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at


1988, purchased from E.J. Canton, Lutherville, Maryland (Accession Date December 21, 1988)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Mr. and Mrs. Amos B. Hostetter, Jr., Anne and Joseph P. Pellegrino, Mr. and Mrs. Peter S. Lynch, Mr. William N. Banks, Jr., Eddy G. Nicholson, Mr. and Mrs. John Lastavica, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel F. Morley, and Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund