Court cupboard


Object Place: Northern Essex County, prob. Ipswich or Newbury, Massachusetts

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 20


149.22 x 123.19 x 49.21 cm (58 3/4 x 48 1/2 x 19 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oak, maple, white pine

On View

17th-Century New England: Brown-Pearl Hall Gallery (Gallery LG35)




Case furniture and boxes

The cupboard–used to store textiles and to display silver, glass, ceramics, and other costly wares–was among the most expensive and prominent articles of domestic furniture. This example is richly embellished with almost the full vocabulary of seventeenth-century ornament: shallow relief carving; crisp turnings; moldings derived from architectural sources; and decoration painted black, in imitation of ebony. Period inventories mention fine linen covering the tops of cupboards, such as the “two diaper cuberd cloaths” and “one hollond one” in the 1691 inventory of Jonathan Avery of Dedham.


Said to have been bought by Zachariah Allen at the sale of the John Hancock house in Boston. It descended to Mrs. Charles Sprague Sargent, who gave it to William Robeson, who took it to Brussels, from whence it returned to the Museum.

Credit Line

Gift of Maurice Geeraerts in memory of Mr. and Mrs. William R. Robeson