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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Chest over three drawers

Photo: Paul Macapia

Chest over three drawers

ca. 1810 - 30

This chest represents early Shaker furniture. The early date is indicated by the thickness of the paint, its hue of yellow, and the embossed tin shield-shaped lock; decoration that would not have been used by 1840. Also by 1840, the paint would have been thinner.

The drawer configuration--a shallow drawer and then two of equal depth--is not "of the world," a Shaker term describing the non-Shaker community. In the non-Shaker world, drawers would have decreased in size by steady increments. The flat space of the chest, the thin drawer, and then two of equal size establishes a non-conventional rhythm in furniture design of this time. In a break from that convention, Shaker drawers were designed to suit what went in them.
Pine, painted or stained in the early hue of Shaker yellow, varnished
39 3/8 x 38 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (100.0 x 98.1 x 46.0 cm)
American Furniture Fund, Decorative Arts Acquisition Fund, and the Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund in honor of John T. Kirk
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum in collaboration with the Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, New York, "Creating Perfection: Shaker Objects and Their Affinities", October 5, 2000 - April 29, 2001, (10/5/2000-4/29/2001)

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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