A Rhode Island Furniture Exhibit, Regional Furniture Studies & Databases

Joint Stool or Table, 1720-1750, maker unknown. Metropolital Museum of Art, New York.

Joint Stool or Table, 1720-1750, maker unknown. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

“From colonial times and into the 19th century, every town and hamlet in Rhode Island supported woodworking shops along main streets and wharves and in farmstead backyards. The artisans developed regional styles; every few miles, different floral and striped patterns became popular designs for mahogany, walnut and pine furniture.”

That is the opening line of an article from the July 29th New York Times. It is a short article packed with information about regional furniture studies and work on databases, including Rhode Island, the Antebellum South and Boston. The article opens with a description of a new exhibit, “Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830,” opening in August at the Yale University Art Gallery. You can read the article here.

The Joint Stool or Table (description here) is from the Rhode Island Furniture Archive. Although details and current locations for each piece are not always known, where available, you can get dimensions,  inscriptions, provenance, construction and a bibliography.

Slat-back Armchair, 1800-1825, attributed to Thomas Taylor. Photo by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg.

Slat-back Armchair, 1800-1825, attributed to Thomas Taylor. Photo by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg.

This armchair in the vernacular style still has traces of red paint. It is currently in the collection of Historic New England. The previous owner, Cherry Fletcher Bamberg received it through “descent in the family of Thomas Taylor.”

Pembroke Table, 1785-1790, John Townsend. Winterthur Museum.

Pembroke Table, 1785-1790, John Townsend. Winterthur Museum.

The Pembroke table description includes, “The gadrooned molding applied to the lower edge of the stretchers is held with screws.”

The main page of the Archive is here. Go explore. I’m going to look up “gadrooned.”

Suzanne Ellison

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5 Responses to A Rhode Island Furniture Exhibit, Regional Furniture Studies & Databases

  1. Eric R says:

    Chuck Bender of 360Woodworking.com has an excellent tutorial on Gadrooning.
    Some of these pieces are beautiful.

  2. wesleytanner says:

    The 500 page exhibition catalogue will be available in October.

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