Enfilade

Exhibition | Rich and Tasty: Vermont Furniture to 1850

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on June 22, 2015

On view this summer at the Shelburne Museum:

Rich and Tasty: Vermont Furniture to 1850
Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, 25 July — 1 November 2015

Stand, attributed to Lemuel Bishop, Charlotte, Vermont, ca. 1815.  Cherry, birch, mahogany, basswood and brass, 28 x 18 x 15 inches.  Private Collection

Stand, attributed to Lemuel Bishop, Charlotte, Vermont, ca. 1815. Cherry, birch, mahogany, basswood and brass, 28 x 18 x 15 inches. Private Collection

This exhibition and accompanying catalogue will introduce and identify Vermont high style furniture, previously known only to decorative arts scholars, historians, and collectors. The project arrives twenty years after Shelburne Museum published a seminal checklist of early Vermont Furniture and is the result of two decades of scholarship. The exhibition will feature pieces that will illuminate the craft practices and regional economics that help define Vermont furniture’s stylistic features and unexpected aesthetic innovations, referred to as “rich and tasty” by one Vermont cabinetmaker.

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Jean M. Burks and Philip Zea, eds., Rich and Tasty: Vermont Furniture to 1850 (Shelburne, Vermont: Shelburne Museum, 2015), 180 pages, ISBN: 978-0939384112, $30.

Two landmark 1995 publications, The Best the Country Affords: Vermont Furniture 1765–1850 and Vermont Cabinetmakers & Chairmakers Before 1855: A Checklist, reintroduced Vermont high style furniture to decorative arts scholars, historians, and collectors. Equipped with this seminal knowledge, a small cadre of Vermont connoisseurs started scouring country auctions, adding signed and well-documented pieces to their private collections. Twenty years later, it is time to bring these pieces together and share them with the public. This catalog and the accompanying exhibition advances the understanding of Vermont high style furniture—from its features, craftsmanship, and economics, to its unexpected aesthetic innovations. The authors identify key eighteenth-century Vermont pieces before covering a variety of topics, including clockmaking, chairmaking, the half sideboard, furniture from Woodstock, and furniture from Vermont factories. Seventy-five full-color photographs by acclaimed Boston photographer David Bohl and extended catalog entries display furniture from all over the Green Mountain State.