Monday, May 19, 2014

Who says the 18th century was dark and boring?

I'm planning to construct a reproduction of this c.1700 - 1720 Massachusetts chest of drawers. If I'm lucky you might get to see this in print form as well... But in the meantime, I thought you might like a quick look at what is going to be on my bench.

I first spotted this chest of drawers in American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Early Colonial Period. (which is worth every penny, by the way). I was struck by its proportions and its absolutely vibrant paint scheme.


photo from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
 Just imagine how this would have looked when newly constructed with fresh paint that hasn't aged for 300 years. The ground for the beveled molding on the top and bottom drawers was yellow ochre, with iron red faux graining (the technical term for "paint squiggles". The inside molding for these drawers was a bright orange. 

Remnants of the old orange paint on the interior molding - photo from the Metropolitan Museum of Art















Yellow ochre was also used for the fielding on the two short drawers in the middle. The interior moldings around those short panels were originally copper green! Add in the floral work and the vines, as well as the faux "oyster shell" paint treatment on the side panels, and you've got a piece that will really stand out.

I'm making this on speculation, but will be heavily documenting the construction process... just in case my book proposal is picked up. 

What would you say, my dear readers? Would you like to see a book detailing the construction of early 18th century pieces, some like this, others more simple, entirely by hand and written by yours truly? If so, please comment that you would buy that book if it were offered for sale. Thank you!

Zach


8 comments:

  1. That is an interesting piece alright. A book would be interesting for sure.

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  2. Do we place the order now?

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  3. I would totally buy that book!

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  4. Zach, please do write that book! Any tips on similar 18th cent furniture books? My life spent as a joiner means furniture is not my trump card, sash windows though.......

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  5. Well hell it right up my tree. I would buy it...

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