American; New York City or vicinity
Painted white oak, red oak
70 x 67 x 25 in. (177.8 x 170.2 x 63.5 cm)
Gift of Millia Davenport, 1988 (1988.21)
A kast is a distinctive type of cupboard that was made in the New YorkNew Jersey area settled by the Dutch. Strongly architectural in design, the kast derived from Dutch prototypes and was made in America until the early 1800s. The most important piece of furniture in the home, it was probably often a dowry gift. The striking painted surface on this kast simulates stone and is highly unusual. Certain features of the construction and design details reflect, as does the form of the kast itself, Continental rather than English influences. This kast, one of a small number in the seventeenth-century style to have survived, is a rare example of joined oak furniture from the New York area.
When the Museum acquired this piece, a brown surface film of tobacco smoke residue and grime and a discolored finish layer below almost entirely obscured the kast's remarkable faux-stone painted decoration.