Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710-1850
Winner of the SPNEA/Historic New England Book Prize award (2010)
Through furniture, this exhibition catalogue will explore the cultural identity of a little-studied region of 18th and 19th century New England: southeastern Massachusetts, an area that stretches from just south of Boston to Providence, east to the tip of Cap Cod, and includes the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The era between 1710 and 1850 was marked by enormous changes in the landscape, population, and economy of this area, as well as in the activities of furniture craftsmen and the purchasing patterns of local residents. Three themes are paramount here:
1. Regionalism in the character of furniture made in the area and the forces that shaped that identity.
2. Fashion, changing tastes and the growing affluence of local residents over time.
3. Shop practices and the evolving craft practices of furniture makers through the recreation of two shops, the rural handcraft tradition of Samuel Wing of Sandwich in 1800 and the mechanized operation of a New Bedford or Fall River chair factory in 1850.
The exhibition will include approximately 75 pieces of furniture from private and institutional collections, tools and equipment from the Samuel Wing cabinet shop (now owned by Sturbridge Village), and selected household furnishings depicting interiors in southeastern Massachusetts during the 18th and 19th centuries.
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