Joined chest with drawer
Object Place: Hampshire county, Massachusetts
80.96 x 136.18 x 46.67 cm (31 7/8 x 53 5/8 x 18 3/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oak, pine, maple, black walnut
Brown-Pearl Hall (Gallery LG35)
Many woodworking shops were active in seventeenth-century New England, and ordinarily the sources of their furniture design can be traced back to specific areas of England. This example is from Springfield in the Connecticut River Valley. Bearing the carved initials PK and the date 1699, this example was probably made as a dower chest. It has been suggested that it was made for Prudence Kellogg of Hadley, Massachusetts, who married Deacon Abraham Merrill of West Hartford in that year, but that supposition has yet to be confirmed. It is one of a large body of some 175 surviving objects produced between about 1680 and 1730 in the Connecticut valley from Enfield, Connecticut, to Northfield, Massachusetts, and embellished with the so-called Hadley motif of a tulip and leaf on a stem. It is also part of a small subgroup enriched with applied spindles and chevron inlay formed
by contrasting heartwood (dark-colored) and sapwood (light-colored) of black walnut (Juglans nigra). This type of decorations and other elements of the chest have been linked to the regional furniture of the North Country of England, brought to the valley by an immigrant craftsman from that region.
This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.
Probably owned originally by Prudence Kellogg (b. October 14, 1675, in Hadley, Mass.; married April 18, 1699, to Deacon Abraham Merrill of Hartford); collection of William Z. Hulbert, Middletown, Connecticut, about 1891; owned by Tyler as early as 1911
Bequest of Charles Hitchcock Tyler