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"SH" joined chest
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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At a time when most houses lacked closets, people used chests to store linens, clothing and other valuable textiles. Their owners did not consider them "bedroom" furniture, and the ornamentation suggests that such chests also served a decorative function. A Connecticut River Valley joiner made this carved, painted chest for Sarah Hawks (1701-1783) of Deerfield. The chest and its carved tulip and leaf pattern are typical of chests produced in this region during this period. A strong kinship network among joiners in this region helps explain the popularity of this style of furniture. The recurring motif also testifies to the economic, social and political power of a single, powerful family. The Pynchons of Springfield, Massachusetts, patronized certain joiners, all of whom made these sorts of chests and carved them with a variation of the tulip and leaf design.
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