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American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. I, Early Colonial Period: The Seventeenth-Century and William and Mary Styles

American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. I, Early Colonial Period: The Seventeenth-Century and William and Mary Styles

Safford, Frances Gruber
2007
464 pages
366 illustrations
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The Metropolitan Museum's preeminent collection of early colonial furniture is expertly documented in this long-awaited publication. It presents a broad spectrum of furniture forms made in America during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries—from chairs and other seating to tables, boxes, various types of chests and cupboards, dressing tables, and desks—and includes prime examples of the different modes of ornamentation in fashion during that period. Freshly photographed in color for this volume, each of the 141 objects is thoroughly described, with detailed information given on its construction, condition, dimensions, materials, and inscriptions and other marks, as well as provenance and exhibition history. Each object is also explicated in terms of the styles and craftsmanship of the period and evaluated in light of comparative pieces in public and private collections throughout the country.

Furniture from New England predominates, but there are significant examples of forms and ornament characteristic of New York and Pennsylvania, as well. The Museum's masterpieces range from majestic seventeenth-century turned chairs with a spindle back to case pieces in the William and Mary style of the early eighteenth century that feature dramatic veneers or japanning. Several chairs in the collection retain their original upholstery, and some of the chests and cupboards have their original painted decoration. The pigments on the painted pieces have been identified, and the results published here represent the first large body of such information included in an American furniture catalogue. An appendix containing photographic details of construction and decorative elements and another with line drawings explaining furniture terms and showing various types of joints and moldings are also included.

This is the first volume in a series that is dedicated to American furniture in the Museum; the second volume, on the late colonial period, was published in 1985.

Met Art in Publication

High chest of drawers, Japanned soft maple, poplar, white pine, American
American
1710–30
Turned armchair, Ash, American
American
1665–90
Spindle-back armchair, Ash, American
American
1640–80
Turned Armchair, Maple, ash, American
American
1630–1700
Spindle-back armchair, Maple, soft maple, ash, American
American
1660–1700
Turned Armchair, Maple, American
American
1650–1700
Spindle-back chair, Soft maple, maple, ash, American
American
1680–1720
Spindle-back armchair, Ash, American
American
1660–1700
Side Chair, Ash, American
American
1670–1710
Spindle-back chair, Cherry, ash, American
American
1680–1710
Slat-back armchair, Poplar, ash, American
American
1650–90
High Chair, Maple, hickory, American
American
ca. 1700
Armchair, Maple, ash, American
American
1670–1700
Armchair, Maple, American
American
1675–1700
Slat-back Armchair, Maple, hickory, black paint, American
American
1700–1740
Armchair, Maple, cottonwood, American
American
1710–50
Armchair, Maple, American
American
1730–80
Joined armchair, Oak, American
American
1650–1700
Chair-table, Red oak, yellow pine, white cedar, American
American
1650–1700
Joined armchair, Black walnut, American
American
1690–1720
Showing 20 of 142

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Citation

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Safford, Frances Gruber. 2007. American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Early Colonial Period the Seventeenth-Century and William and Mary Styles. New Haven: Yale university press.