The Cabinetmaker and the Carver

The Cabinetmaker & the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections

Cover of The Cabinetmaker and the CarverBy Gerald W. R. Ward. Foreword by Dennis Fiori.

For centuries, Boston has been one of the most important furniture-making centers in America. Soon after the town’s founding in 1630, Boston’s joiners and turners were the first craftsmen to make furniture in British North America. The city’s cabinetmakers contributed to the art and craft of furniture making throughout the elegant colonial and federal periods, when Boston was a major center for furniture in the baroque, rococo, and neoclassical styles. Its factories and designers were also a source of fine furniture for another century, creating major pieces in the various revival styles of the mid 19th century, as well as in the arts and crafts and colonial revival modes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Cabinetmaker and the Carver provides an opportunity to see a carefully selected group of significant examples of Boston furniture representing the trajectory of this great tradition. These objects illustrate many of the local characteristics that distinguish Boston work from that of other cities; they also open a window on Bostonians’ tastes and preferences. Created by many of the city’s most talented cabinetmakers, carvers, turners, and other craftsmen, nearly all of this furniture is drawn from distinguished local collections, providing a rare public glimpse of these privately held treasures.

Published on the occasion of an exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society, October 4, 2013, through January 17, 2014, The Cabinetmaker and the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections is part of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, a collaborative project of the Massachusetts Historical Society and 10 other institutions.

Gerald W. R. Ward is the Senior Consulting Curator and The Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Emeritus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

64 pages, 80 color illustrations
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$30 Paperback (2013)    ISBN: 978-1-936520-06-0

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