Prudent Mallard was one of the most famous providers of fashionable furniture in the Gulf South. His shop was known for monumental armoires in the revival styles of the Victorian era, massive tester beds with carved cabochons on the head and footboards, and delicate parlor furniture in the French taste. Like many furniture retailers, Mallard had trouble getting payment from his customers and was forced to declare bankruptcy twice. The inventories from each of his bankruptcies show that Mallard did not own any materials for manufacturing furniture, only for finishing and upholstery work. He imported furniture directly from the centers of style in France and New York and employed skilled craftsmen to assemble and upholster these pieces for the local market. In addition to fine furniture and upholstery, Mallard also sold imported “fancy goods” such as French porcelain, mantel clocks, and bronze ornaments to complete the decor of stylish homes.  

Prudent Mallard advertisement 

from De Bow’s Review

New Orleans: J. D. B. De Bow, 1856

The Historic New Orleans Collection 79-53-L

Prudent Mallard advertisement 

from Cohen’s New Orleans and Lafayette Directory

New Orleans: Daily Delta, 1852

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 58-100-RL

Portico mantel clock

between 1850 and 1870; wood, brass, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, enamel

manufactured in France

Prudent Mallard, retailer (New Orleans)

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2015.0220.1

Dancing figurine

between 1855 and 1875; porcelain

manufactured in Chantilly, France

Prudent Mallard, retailer (New Orleans)

The Historic New Orleans Collection, acquisition made possible by the Clarisse Claiborne Grima Fund, 2015.0114.1–.2

Saucer

between 1860 and 1869; porcelain

manufactured in France

Prudent Mallard, retailer (New Orleans)

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2005.0198.1–.2

Saucer (mark)

between 1860 and 1869; porcelain

manufactured in France

Prudent Mallard, retailer (New Orleans)

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 2005.0198.1–.2

Prudent Mallard receipt

February 15, 1859

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 97-17-L